Princess Alexandra officially opened The James Cook University Hospital’s new stand alone radiotherapy centre on Wednesday 2 May.
The state-of-the-art Endeavour Unit is part of a £35m service expansion that places the Middlesbrough hospital among the best in Europe for cancer treatment.
It houses three leading edge linear accelerators – machines used to give radiation treatment to patients, a CT scanner and a new outpatient suite.
James Cook is one of the first hospitals in the world to treat patients with the £1.5m Elekta Agility linear accelerators.
Fiona Milnes, radiotherapy services team leader said: “These leading-edge machines enable us to give a high dose of radiotherapy to a smaller area and they are extremely accurate which helps reduce side effects.
“Demand for cancer services is increasing all the time and this expansion gives our patients access to the very latest technology in a purpose-built unit which will really put James Cook on the map.”
As part of the £35m redevelopment the hospital’s chemotherapy day unit has also been extended and refurbished and the radiotherapy department in the main hospital site has been renovated to house a £2.5m TomoTherapy machine – an advanced CT scanner with a high energy x-ray treatment beam that more accurately targets tumours.
Built by Interserve, the unit has been purpose-built to create a light, spacious and calming environment. Patients have been involved with the design and can now sit in comfort in a spacious waiting area bathed in natural light ahead of their appointments. There’s also a refreshment bar staffed by hospital volunteers and modern artwork adorns the walls and walkways.
The building is also aiming for a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for its environmental excellence as it boasts a number of green initiatives such as a rain-water harvesting system for toilet flushing and a ground source heat pump which will provide for its under-floor heating.