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People benefitting from efficient and innovative cancer services


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The challenge

The Royal United Hospitals Bath  (RUH) NHS Foundation Trust was delivering oncology care from outdated building stock which was no longer fit for purpose, and needed to create a new facility to reflect the standard of care provided, to better respond to advances in cancer treatment and increased service demand. While the hospital site was large, there was very little space for future development – a plan was needed to identify buildings most in need of replacement, opportunities to free up land and improve efficiency and accessibility site-wide.

The solution

Forming part of the wider 10 year strategic estate plan for the RUH designed by Arcadis, we were reappointed to bring to life the vision for the cancer centre, which called for a new state of the art facility for cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Situated on the hospital’s entrance plaza, our solution co-locates all elements of the non-surgical cancer pathway under one roof, providing a seamless patient experience within a therapeutic and calming space, connected to nature. Extensive consultation with patients, relatives, staff and key stakeholders, including The James Dyson Foundation and Medlock Charitable Trust has enabled us to develop a solution that is completely sensitive to the user’s needs, whilst optimising the benefits of the latest technology and equipment.

Set over three-storeys, the 6,200m2 facility includes chemotherapy and day care, out-patients, radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, medical physics, a 22-bed inpatient ward, pharmacy, family accommodation, wellbeing information and support hub, and staff hub. The inpatient ward makes extensive use of natural light and views, with bedrooms facing outwards to create a calming patient experience. The Macmillan Wellbeing Hub is a comforting space run in collaboration with Macmillan, providing comprehensive support services for patients, their families and carers, including specialist counselling, complementary therapies, and family accommodation to stay close to loved ones. The centre also brings together clinicians and researchers and acts as a hub for 60+ clinical trials, while partnerships with Bath University, cancer research centres and charities, drive groundbreaking research for improved cancer treatments.

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    Our interior design concept sought to bring the outside in, focusing on how a connection to nature provides a therapeutic, supportive and uplifting environment for patients, staff & visitors. Taking inspiration from the local area, the theme ‘Land, Water and Sky’ creates a journey through the building with references to the botanical gardens around Bath. Natural textures, tones and colours reflects a comforting, supportive environment specifically tailored to the emotional needs of each space. Our Interior Design team worked closely with Art at the Heart, an inspiring art & design programme at RUH, to create an integrated design and art scheme, linking back to the three main themes. By combining natural light, noise reduction, creating connectivity with green spaces and integrating art, sculptures, and installations, our evidence-based sensory design approach helps to reduce stress and anxiety, and support every step of the patient journey.

The impact

The building is fully accessible, inclusive and supportive to those with impairment, cognitive or physical. The colours and finishes have been carefully selected to be dementia-friendly through the use of materials that offer texture and tone whilst addressing the need for contrast where required. The clarity of the different spaces and ease of circulation supports easy decision making and independence for patients and visitors alike.

The new Dyson Cancer Centre delivers clinical excellence in its field with increased efficiency across services for patients and staff, while also creating a feeling of calm at a time that can be very distressing for patients and their families.

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