The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Liverpool

Clatterbridge expands into Liverpool

Listeners have heard how cancer services will continue at Clatterbridge Health Park despite a new specialist hospital opening in Liverpool.

The 11-storey Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in the city centre will deliver highly-specialist care including pioneering immunotherapy and the most advanced forms of radiotherapy to the 2.4 million people in Cheshire and Merseyside, and those in surrounding areas.

The spectacular new hospital is part of a £162m investment in expanding and transforming cancer services across the region.

But the Wirral cancer centre will continue to be the main treatment site for most patients living on the peninsular and in West Cheshire and surrounding areas.

Afternoon Edition presenter Andy Bonner caught up with Dr Liz Bishop, the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust, to ask what it all means to patients in Merseyside and Cheshire.

Listeners also heard a surprise message of appreciation from The Prince of Wales for the hard-working staff at the site.

The hospital says the expansion of services will ensure the NHS is well placed to meet the rising incidence of cancer as people live longer. In the immediate term, it will also support the NHS to resume normal clinical activity post-COVID-19 by providing protected facilities for people with cancer – many of whom are particularly at risk if they catch the virus – as well as releasing capacity in other hospitals in the region.

The new hospital brings pioneering cancer treatment closer to communities that are among the most disadvantaged and most at risk of developing the disease during their lifetime. It means significantly shorter journey times for the majority of patients, including those from Knowsley which has the second highest incidence of cancer in England. At a regional level, cancer incidence in Cheshire and Merseyside is the third highest in England while deaths from cancer are 76 per cent above the European average.

The opening of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool is the culmination of plans that have been eight years in the making. Until now, Cheshire and Merseyside’s main cancer centre has been located at its southernmost point on a site with no acute medical and surgical specialties, and that is also some distance away from key research partners.

The new hospital in Liverpool is centrally located for people across Cheshire & Merseyside, significantly reducing journey times for the 65 per cent of patients who live north of the Mersey.

Hospital bosses have previously told Radio Clatterbridge that they will invest in the Wirral site once the Liverpool hospital is up and running.

“The centre in Clatterbridge is still staying open for radiotherapy and chemotherapy services.” – Dr Liz Bishop, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

Sitting in the heart of Liverpool’s thriving Knowledge Quarter – on a site adjacent to Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool – it will also will ensure the most complex and unwell patients benefit from rapid on-site access to key medical and surgical specialties. This is important because many people with cancer are also living with other serious health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease.

Bringing cancer experts from the NHS and the University of Liverpool together on the same site will also significantly enhance opportunities for leading-edge cancer research, including early-phase clinical trials of new treatments.

Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool will deliver a wide range of highly-specialist cancer care including pioneering chemotherapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy and radiotherapy. The new hospital has state-of-the-art facilities for diagnostics and imaging, outpatients, daycase treatments, bone marrow transplant, a Teenage & Young Adult Unit, clinical therapies, and a wide range of cancer information and support.

Its 110 fully-single en-suite bedrooms will provide inpatients with total privacy as well as reducing any risk of infections. This is especially relevant during the pandemic because people with cancer can be at greater risk of becoming extremely unwell from COVID-19. The hospital also has special isolation facilities for patients whose immune systems mean they are particularly vulnerable to infection. The inpatient blood cancer unit will open later this year.

A side view of the new hospital in Liverpool
A side view of the new hospital in Liverpool

The building has been specially designed to enhance wellbeing, healing and recovery through a close connection to nature and a sense of light and space, despite its city-centre location. There is a Winter Garden on the lowest floor, adjacent to the Radiotherapy department. The inpatient wards and Chemotherapy suite boast spectacular views across the city and across to the Wirral peninsula, with outdoor terraces where patients can enjoy fresh air. Artwork will further bring the outside in, by using tree and plant motifs on every floor.

The development of Liverpool’s first specialist cancer hospital is part of a £162m investment that also includes significant upgrades and the refurbishment at the Wirral site. The new hospital has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. It was designed by leading global architects, BDP, who also designed Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. The main contractor was Laing O’Rourke and the building was design engineered by AECOM.

Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool now becomes the main hub in The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust’s extensive network of services across Cheshire and Merseyside, which includes its existing cancer centres in Wirral and Aintree, its clinics in hospitals across the region, and its team of specialist nurses who treat patients while they’re at home or work.