The new research and outpatients centre in south London seeks to drive improvements in diagnosis and treatment

The Prince of Wales has officially inaugurated BDP’s Oak Cancer Centre at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in Sutton, Surrey.

The Oak Cancer Centre, funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, is an advanced facility dedicated to research and treatment, aiming to expedite the development of new cancer therapies. Its primary objective is to enable early cancer diagnosis and improve patient treatment and care.

Situated alongside the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the Oak Cancer Centre forms part of the emerging London Cancer Hub, a knowledge cluster intended to become the focus of global leadership in cancer research, treatment, and innovation.

The building brings together more than 400 scientists and researchers into a space designed specifically to encourage collaboration at the heart of the building. The new Charles Wolfson Rapid Diagnostic Centre and the Kuok Research Centre provide spaces for scientific research and development.

The six-storey building includes multiple accessible terraces with a pergola on the top floor. Each terrace is designed to provide respite for staff and patients. All 63 chemotherapy bays are oriented towards a newly landscaped garden, providing views of green space.

The centre takes its name from the Oak Foundation, which donated £25 million to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s Oak Cancer Centre appeal, contributing to the overall £70 million funds. 

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BDP’s architect director, Dominic Hook said: “Cancer centres are where some of life’s most stressful moments happen, so throughout the design process we wanted to ensure patients would receive treatment in the best possible environments. Every part of the architecture here is considered so that anxious patients are not further stressed by being disorientated or struggling to find their way around.

“They will be able to enjoy great views, peace and quiet while receiving chemotherapy. A legible and accessible design means those attending the new outpatient department will be able to undergo blood tests, see their consultant and collect a prescription, all on the same floor.

“I have no doubt that this building will improve the lives of the patients who use it. In our small part, we have helped create a place that can bring support, comfort and reassurance to people who need it. It was a privilege to work on a project that will truly make a difference.”

Andrew Wilson, operations director at main contractor ISG, commented: “The Oak Cancer Centre represents a significant advancement in bringing together clinicians, researchers and patients in an environment that positively supports collaboration.

“Technology has been a key facilitator during the construction phase, with cutting-edge visualisation tools used to spatially plan and maximise patient and clinician outcomes, and this will then follow through into the operation of the building and the use of ground breaking diagnostic and treatment technologies.”

Dame Cally Palmer, chief executive of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The Oak Cancer Centre will help the hospital to go faster and further in the delivery of research and cancer treatments and provide the very best environments for our patients.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70m fundraising appeal. The Oak Cancer Centre would not have been possible without generous Charity support from individuals from across the world, demonstrating what can be achieved when global philanthropy works in partnership with the NHS.’’