Treatment for Manx cancer sufferers will take another major leap forward with the opening of a £162m major new Cancer Centre in Liverpool on the 27th June, the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool. Building started on the project in early 2017 and, despite the Covid-19, was recently completed – only a few weeks behind schedule. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust will run the hospital, as well as its existing sites in Wirral and Aintree, with most Island patients being treated in the new facility in central Liverpool rather than at the present rather isolated Wirral facility.
The 11-storey, 110-bed hospital will deliver a wide range of highly-specialist cancer care including pioneering chemotherapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy and radiotherapy. It has state-of-the-art facilities for bone marrow transplant, diagnostics and imaging, outpatients, day-case treatments, a Teenage & Young Adult Unit, clinical therapies, and a wide range of cancer information and support. The Chemotherapy suite and in-patient wards boast spectacular views across the city and across to the Wirral peninsula, with terraces where patients can enjoy some fresh air. The Radiotherapy Department is positioned below ground, but with daylight channelled down through the centre of the building, with a Winter Garden adjacent to it.
The new hospital has also been designed to ensure patients have plenty of privacy and space, and can be personalised to individual needs. Every inpatient will have their own single en-suite room, further reducing any risk of infection. There will be three ‘air bridges’ linking the facility to the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital when it is completed, giving access to excellent clinical care and increased opportunities for front-line research with the proximity of the University. Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool has been built by Laing O’Rourke as the main contractor, who have now taken over completion of the new Royal Liverpool University (originally it was planned that the RLUH would be completed 18 months ahead of the CCC-L but with the collapse of Carillion it is now likely to be another 2 years before work is finished).
Consultant Oncologists from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre already provide their expertise at the recently opened Eric and Marion Scott Oncology Unit at Noble’s Hospital and oversee chemotherapy and some immunotherapy regimens that can be given safely by Clinical Nurse Specialists in the associated Chemotherapy Unit. Patients requiring radiotherapy or complex and new innovative systemic treatments will be treated by the same Consultant, or one of their colleagues, at the new facility – the same ‘hub-and-spoke’ principle as applies to other areas within the Cheshire and Merseyside Region.
The Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association has been instrumental in raising £460,000 over the past six years to enhance the facilities and equipment available at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool, particularly with Manx residents in mind. This funding has gone towards the building of three Relatives’ rooms within the Hospital and a new form of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. The Relatives’ rooms will enable loved ones to stay close to seriously ill patients 24/7.
Malcolm Clague, Chairman of IOM ACA, said ‘The Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association has a proud record of supporting those Manx residents who receive a cancer diagnosis, both here and across, for over 60 years and were very happy to support this project when invited to do so. Although the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre on the Wirral has provided excellent treatment for over half a century, this new facility will enhance treatments further within a modern, airy environment and provide increased access to the latest treatments, care and research for Manx patients. This can only lead to even better care and outcomes.’
I have had the opportunity to visit the site on a number of occasions during the construction and see the work progress. The enthusiasm of those involved was very impressive with attention to even the smallest of detail – they were very aware of the difficult times people face throughout their
treatment and wanted to make the patient experience as comfortable as possible. The design opens up what is a relatively compact building in the centre of Liverpool to a lot of daylight. Patients can even see the top of the Liver Building from the upper terrace and, although the IOM ferry will soon no longer depart from there, it will still be a recognisable link to the island whilst they are undergoing treatment. The on-site ‘Relatives’ rooms’ are particularly important for Manx residents in enabling relatives of the sicker patients to be close to them at all times. I last visited the facility in January and I am looking forward to the official opening later in the year to view the completed facility.
I would personally like to thank all those on the Island who have supported the Association with this project in providing what will be a truly state-of-the-art tertiary centre for many Manx cancer sufferers for some time to come. The Association will continue to support the facility, when it can, to help it provide the best treatments for this awful disease.’
Katrina Bury, Head of Charity at The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity said, “I would like to thank everyone involved at the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association, which is a Founding Partner of the new hospital, for their hard work, commitment and dedication over the last six years. We are so grateful for their support and their extremely generous contribution to the Appeal, which will help support people with cancer in our region. The new hospital will help to transform cancer care and be hugely beneficial to Manx residents. We look forward to welcoming the members of the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association in the future and showing them round this amazing facility.”