The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, officially launched the Friends of the Beatson Centre at the new Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre at Gartnavel.
The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre is Scotland’s largest cancer centre and the second largest in the UK. It is the leading centre for the delivery of non-surgical cancer care for the West of Scotland. It serves a population of 2.8 million and has clinical links with 17 hospitals in five Health Board areas.
An internationally renowned teaching centre, the Beatson incorporates the academic units of Medical Oncology, Radiation, Oncology and Palliative Care.
As former patients, Ian Dickson and Alan Kilpatrick, with the encouragement of senior medical staff at the Beatson, got together with a number of other former patients and relatives to establish if there was anything they could do ‘to put something back’.
They set up Friends of the Beatson as a charity in 1995. It is run by a small group of directors and officebearers – Ian Dickson, Alan Kilpatrick, Elizabeth Kennedy and Gordon Thomson.
Since 1995, Friends of the Beatson has raised approximately £1,500,000. All of this money has been committed to a wide variety of projects.
The Friends of the Beatson Centre, which cost £600,000 to build and believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, has been Friends of the Beatson’s biggest and most rewarding achievement to-date.
It has been specifically designed, funded and constructed and is operated by the Friends of the Beatson to promote the well-being of cancer patients and help make their lives more tolerable when in hospital.
The new facility includes a lounge, chill out spaces, coffee and smoothie bar, two complementary therapy rooms, a specialised hairdresser, music stations, a concept cinema room and an “enviroscape”.
It will cost at least £150,000 a year to run and maintain but the benefits to patients are priceless. The charity remains 100% dependent on its own fundraising initiatives and on donations from individuals and businesses.
Ian Dickson, chairman of Friends of the Beatson said:
“The new Centre is a major milestone in what Friends of the Beatson has been doing. It is our most significant project to-date by a long way. We are delighted to have had such tremendous feedback from patients and staff about its positive impact.
“There is much more to be done, not only in the running and operation of our Centre but also more widely for cancer patients at the Beatson. And we’re up for it.”
Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added:
“The Friends of the Beatson centre is a magnificent new facility. It provides our patients with a calming, relaxing and therapeutic environment, which will hopefully improve their wellbeing and enhance their treatment.
“The directors have worked tirelessly to realise their dream of creating this remarkable facility. The layout and design has been meticulously planned.
“The new Beatson has benefited from many additional facilities, features and other enhancements made possible by our charitable partners. In this case we are extremely grateful to the Friends of the Beatson for funding this unique centre.”
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is a real honour for me to mark the opening of this magnificent centre. It is a haven for patients within a state of the art cancer centre made possible by mutual respect and collaboration among patients, the Friends of the Beatson Board and NHS colleagues.
“I am not aware of any similar facility anywhere else in Scotland and perhaps even in the UK. I am sure that as the centre and its facilities become more widely known, it will be the envy of patients – and other cancer centre facilities - everywhere.”
For further information:
Laura Campbell, Clayton Graham Communications on behalf of Friends of the Beatson
T: 0141 221 3700 / 07894 152 931
Notes to editors:
Interviews on request
CD Rom of press pack and interior images of the Centre enclosed
Biographies of the Board and Professor Sir John Arbuthnott enclosed
Patient endorsements enclosed
Each year, the Beatson team sees more than 8,000 new patients from all over Scotland and more than 15,000 courses of chemotherapy and over 6,000 courses of radiotherapy are administered. Waiting times for radical treatment are typically amongst the lowest in the UK.
In the UK, 284,560 persons were diagnosed with cancer in 2004. Four types – breast, lung, bowel (colorectal) and prostate – account for over half of all new cases of cancer.