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Tameside Macmillan Unit wins national environmental award

Chemotherapy treatment area

Tameside Hospital’s newly built Macmillan Cancer Unit has won a special green award for its sustainable design and innovative approach to environmental patient care.

The award was presented at a special ceremony at The Houses of Parliament, in London on Friday, June 9, 2017 and, the judges say, recognises the Unit’s overall design, finishes and environmental contribution to the creation of a truly healing environment.

The £2million Tameside Macmillan Unit accommodates a six-chair chemotherapy suite, procedure room and waiting areas, and a Macmillan Information and Support Centre, all arranged around a central landscaped courtyard which provides attractive views for those undergoing treatment. It also incorporates a palliative care consulting room, complementary therapy rooms and prosthesis room, bringing together a variety of physical and emotional cancer support services previously dispersed across several hospitals.

Each of the treatment spaces in the chemotherapy suite can be separated by means of retractable pullout screens featuring artwork inspired by the artwork to the main circulation area. With differing amounts visible at various times, the screens provide an ever-changing backdrop to clinical activity.

External access to the landscaped courtyard is direct from the treatment area, allowing patients the option to enjoy the outdoors and contact with nature whilst undergoing treatment. The courtyard has been repaved using large format tiles supported on adjustable pedestals to achieve level access and incorporates raised planters, automated lighting and an irrigation system.

A central feature of the scheme is the integration of artwork into the Unit’s interior design. Working with renowned artist, Chris Tipping, a theme based around “A walk through the landscape of Tameside” was devised. The result is a the 4m high, 25m long wall mural which depicts the specific journey through the local countryside undertaken by the artist and patient representative Stewart Ramsden, who lives in Godley, Hyde and is Chairman of the Tameside Ramblers’ Association.

Karen James who is Chief Executive of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, says one of the fundamental objectives was that the Unit should not simply fulfill functional and technical requirements but rather should also provide an environment supportive of the personal, emotional and practical needs of the patients, families, friends and staff who use it.

She explains: “ The focus had to be about the patient experience and to encourage the creation of a calming, reassuring and comfortable environment aimed at putting patients at ease when they are most apprehensive and vulnerable. We are delighted to have won this award and are indebted to our architects the IBI Group, our builders and support contractors, the hundreds of people who fundraised, our local newspapers the Tameside Reporter and Glossop Chronicle and our friends at Macmillan Cancer Support for helping us create a truly wonderful haven for cancer patients.”

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