Altnagelvin Hospital Radiotherapy Unit, Londonderry

Altnagelvin Hospital Radiotherapy Unit, known as the North West Cancer Centre, is one of the first cross border funded projects in Northern Ireland and provides cancer treatment to people on both sides of the border in the North West of Ireland.

Appointed by the Western Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland, RPS provided Mechanical, Electrical and Lift Engineering as well as undertaking the role of BREEAM Assessor.

The project recently secured the NHS Healthcare Design award at the European Healthcare Design (EHD) 2017 awards.

The design objectives were to develop a building that responded to the natural patient anxieties associated with Radiotherapy Treatments by establishing a warm and welcoming ambience within the building and maximising connections to nature and to provide a building that facilitates an efficient process and eases the patient flow.

The new centre’s diagnostic and treatment facilities include three linear accelerators alongside a CT simulator, CT scanner and 27 inpatient beds. The lighting of the treatment areas was carefully designed to provide changes in light colour and lighting levels which to create a tranquil atmosphere to make procedures less unsettling. The careful integration of the lighting into other parts of the site was also key to creating a calm patient environment.

The building was constructed on a brownfield site within a live hospital campus. As the hospital remained fully operational throughout the redevelopment works the team had to focus on many safety and risk issues to ensure a smooth transition to the new services, with no detriment to existing operations or any foreseen loss of business continuity. The building was built on the site of the mortuary, CHP plant and temporary office accommodation. These facilities were successfully relocated in a series of Enabling Works Packages.

The building's sustainability credentials are validated through the achievement of BREEAM Very Good certification with a range of design features to minimise the use of natural resources the building uses compared to similar facilities of this type.

The building is now providing cancer care to the communities of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a result of cross border co-operation.