Work begins on new ‘linac’ facility at Edinburgh’s Western General
Work has begun on a new linear accelerator treatment facility at NHS Lothian’s Western General Hospital (WGH) in Edinburgh, designed by HLM Architects, and being delivered by RMF Health (a consortium of Robertson Construction and FES).
The two-storey centre is part of an Oncology Enabling Works programme that will retain capacity for Oncology Services at the site until a new purpose-built Edinburgh Cancer Centre is delivered. It features new radiation shielded bunkers, a cancer assessment unit, and oncology administration offices.
HLM explained: “The project is challenging, as it is being delivered in a live hospital environment, and physically links to the existing Radiotherapy Department, to enable inpatient transfer between areas. The specialist design will ensure that the project can be delivered without disrupting NHS Lothian’s clinical services, while retaining ambulance access to the adjacent departments and buildings. Close liaison with key stakeholders will ensure that the works are planned and phased to integrate with infrastructure works and other building works being run concurrently.”
One of the key project goals is to make the new building as non-clinical in feel as possible, to reduce patient anxiety. The ‘linac’ treatment rooms include a ceiling grid resembling a bright sky with trees to help relax patients during treatment. The rooms are designed with calming colours and timber accents, and warm tones, to provide a comfortable, tranquil feel. HLM says biophilia is also a prominent feature, with ‘symbolic references to patterns, textures, and colours commonly found in nature’. Staff spaces have been designed to be bright and bold to contrast with the clinical spaces, and include softer, more tactile spaces, to provide a break from the clinical environment.
Lorraine Robertson, director at HLM, said: “We centred our design approach on creating a space that would support and positively influence both the psychological and physiological health of patients and other building users.”
The new facility is being delivered by Robertson Construction on behalf of RMF Health through Frameworks Scotland 3, a framework managed by Health Facilities Scotland. David Cairns, MD, Robertson Construction Central East, said: “We have been working on several projects at the Western General over the last two years within the live healthcare environment, and positive relationships have ensured that there has been no disruption to any services.”