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New Era in Cancer Care is Celebrated as First Minister Officially Opens the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre

February 01, 2008 4:29 PM

One of the most advanced cancer centres in Europe was today, February 1st, officially opened by First Minister, Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

At a special ceremony at the new £115million Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, Scotland’s First and Deputy First Ministers met with staff and patients before unveiling a commemorative plaque and officially declaring the centre open.

Speaking at the event, at which more than 80 staff, patients, charitable partners and supporters were present, the First Minister said: “”For many years, the “Beatson” has played a vital role in improving the health and lives of the people of Scotland. The Health Secretary has regularly updated Cabinet on the pioneering work underway and her visits to the new facilities. I have never been in any doubt that the new centre is a fitting testament to the work started by Dr George Beatson.

“However, after meeting the staff and patients and seeing these state of the art medical facilities firsthand -  today’s visit has still managed to exceed expectations.

“Scotland’s fight against cancer is led by a dedicated NHS workforce, cutting edge technology and ground-breaking clinical research. The Beatson’s greatest strength is its ability to bring all these things together, under one roof, to ensure people get the outstanding healthcare and support they need – and when they most need it.

”Its impressive and inspiring environment has clearly been developed around the need to provide the best possible treatment for the 9000 patients who will come through its door each year.

“There have been many partners involved in making this centre a reality. I congratulate them all and thank them for developing this centre and helping us to provide Scotland the best possible chance of winning the fight against cancer.”

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:

“It is also a great pleasure for me to mark the official opening of this magnificent centre.

and the commitment and enthusiasm of all the staff.  I have absolutely no doubt that we should all be very proud of what has been achieved here over the last few years. 
“I have now been here on a number of occasions, most recently to open the Friends of the Beatson centre and every time, I have been enormously impressed by the work done here 

“This new facility, with its interior design and decoration shaped by patients, is an example of what can be done by working in partnership - a partnership involving NHS staff, charities and, of course, the contractors who built and finished the building itself supported by funding from the public and voluntary sectors.

“All that we see here today is also a result of the seeking out and implementing innovative ways of delivering services that not only meet the needs of patients but also provide them in ways that better meet the expectations of patients, carers and their families.” 

When the Beatson first began treating patients last year it heralded a new era in cancer care in Scotland.

It is the lead centre for delivering non-surgical cancer care across the West of Scotland and provides patients and staff with the most cutting edge equipment, treatments and surroundings to fight cancer.

More than 8,000 new patients will be seen at the Beatson every year which serves a population of 2.6million – more than half the Scottish population.

It boasts the latest state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including eleven modern radiotherapy treatment units, three radioactive source treatment units and MRI scanners.  The first PET-CT scanner for the West of Scotland is also co-located beside the unit. This new technology allows doctors to map out cancer tissue more accurately and gives an early insight into how well treatment is progressing even before a tumour changes significantly in size.  

The opening ceremony was hosted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Chairman, Andrew Robertson.  He said: “Completing the world-class package of cancer care, the Beatson is staffed by some of the most skilled and dedicated healthcare professionals in the country. I am delighted that the new centre offers staff such a wonderful environment in which to deliver specialist and vitally important cancer services. Cancer patients from throughout the West of Scotland will undoubtedly benefit from all that this outstanding facility has to offer. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of the Scottish Government and our charitable partners to whom we are all very grateful.”

Professor Alan Rodger, Medical Director for the Beatson, added: “The official opening of the Beatson marks a major milestone in the advancement of specialist cancer services in Scotland.  The Beatson has a rich history in the provision of high quality cancer services dating back to 1886. As the Beatson enters a new phase in its history, we have commissioned a special commemorative booklet charting back to its beginnings.  The booklet has been presented to all the guests here today and given as a token to every member of Beatson staff.”

Key to the design of the Beatson is the creation of a calm, relaxing and therapeutic environment for patients to improve their well-being and enhance their recuperation.

Professor Alan Rodger said: “The Beatson has also benefited from many facilities and extra features made possible by charitable organisations and their contribution cannot be underestimated. Our partners have donated in excess of £3million to allow for many exciting features and extras, from an in-house cinema to an art-coordinator to oversee the design of our new centre. I see this great generosity as evidence of the continuing and very considerable support we have from the community and people we serve.”
What is more the Beatson is now staffed by the highest number of specialist staff Glasgow has ever had.  For a number of years a huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes to attract specialist staff from all over the world. Our enormous national and international efforts have now paid off as whole time equivalent vacancy rates at the Beatson are now at 2.4% from a position of 27.6% back in 2002.
· a pharmacy, which has nine isolators for the production of chemotherapy.  The pharmacy department has also been set up to deliver gene therapy in the future.
· the North Glasgow haemato-oncology ward
· a new clinical trials and research unit which runs up to 100 programmes at any one time
 
· a bone marrow transplant ward which provides a national service for certain transplants
The new centre is also home to:

These generous donations have been made by Macmillan Cancer Relief, the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Friends of the Beatson and Trades House of Glasgow.

The Friends of the Beatson have funded a new £800,000 complementary therapy centre, providing a relaxing therapeutic environment with complementary non-medical services. The centre includes chill out spaces; art music rooms; aromatherapy and massage rooms; a 12-seater cinema; a sound and light room and a hairdresser and beautician room.

Ian Dickson, chairman of Friends of the Beatson said: “The Beatson is a centre of excellence and its new home, the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre is one of the finest in Europe.

“We are delighted to be part of the new Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and to play our part in it, by promoting the wellbeing of cancer patients and making their lives more tolerable when in hospital.”
 
“The new Friends of the Beatson Centre, which was launched in September 2007, is a major milestone for Friends of the Beatson. It is our most significant project to-date by a long way.

The Teenage Cancer Trust have funded a state-of-the-art new Teen Cancer unit. There is internet access, Plasma TV with satellite access, DVD players, Playstations and state-of-the-art sound systems. The new unit has a chill out zone or “rumpus room” packed with the latest board games and a fully fitted kitchen so the teenagers can make their own snacks or hot drinks.  This new unit represents a far cry from the former teenage cancer facilities in the old Beatson.

Richard Shaw, Director of Fundraising at Teenage Cancer Trust said, "We are delighted to have opened Scotland's first Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the New Beatson. The facility will ensure that Scottish teenagers with cancer are getting the best possible treatment in an environment that has been created especially for them. We expect the state-of-the-art facility to provide better outcomes for the young patients and their families”.

Macmillan Cancer Relief paid for the project’s Art Coordinator who was responsible for the décor of the new centre. The charity has also funded the new day chemo unit which boasts special mood lighting to help patients relax while undergoing treatment.
 

Director of Macmillan Cancer Support, Elspeth Atkinson, said: "Macmillan is delighted to have been involved in the development of the Beatson. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we have been able to spend £1m to make the centre more pleasant. Our architectural and arts advisors oversaw environmental improvement work throughout the Beatson, particularly in the chemotherapy unit, where we installed an innovative light therapy unit.  We were also involved in improvements to the radiotherapy, outpatient, reception and courtyard areas, using lights and colours as well as murals of Scottish flowers and fauna.  We are very pleased this work has helped make the Beatson a more pleasant place to be."

The opening of the Beatson has also played a major part in the reorganisation of cancer services across the West of Scotland to deliver more specialist cancer care locally.  For instance, chemotherapy is now given locally under the supervision of the Beatson experts in nine hospitals outwith Glasgow from Oban to Ayr and as far east as Falkirk.

Ends

For further information contact the press office on 0141 201 4429.

Note to editors


Images of the official opening and general shots of the Beatson are available on request.

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