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Thu December 09 2021

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Robertson starts work on linear accelerator unit at Edinburgh hospital

27 Apr Robertson Construction Central East has begun work on a new linear accelerator (Linac) treatment facility at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

The project for NHS Lothian has been designed by HLM Architects and is being delivered by RMF Health, a consortium of Robertson Construction and FES. The new facility is being delivered by Robertson Construction on behalf of RMF Health through Frameworks Scotland 2, a framework managed by Health Facilities Scotland.

The two-storey centre is part of an oncology enabling works programme that will retain capacity for oncology services at the Western General site until a new purpose-built Edinburgh Cancer Centre is completed. It features adiation-shielded bunkers, a cancer assessment unit and administration offices.

Robertson said that the project is challenging as it is being delivered in a live hospital environment and includes physical links to the existing radiotherapy department, to enable inpatients to be transferred between areas. The project has been designed to ensure that it can be delivered without disruption to any of NHS Lothian's clinical services on the site, including retaining ambulance access to the adjacent departments and buildings. There will be close liaison with key stakeholders to ensure the works are planned and phased to integrate with infrastructure works and other building works that are being run concurrently.  

One of the key design features is to remove the clinical feel of the building as much as possible while still providing suitable care. This helps to reduce patient anxiety while being cared for or receiving treatment. The Linac treatment rooms include a ceiling grid resembling a bright sky with trees overhead that encourages patients to mentally remove themselves during treatment. The rooms are designed with calming colours and timber accents, as well as warm tones to provide as much comfort and tranquillity as possible. Biophilia is also a prominent feature, incorporating symbolic references to patterns, textures and colours commonly found in nature.

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NHS Lothian Western General Hospital site director Chris Stirling said: “We are delighted to be working with HLM Architects and RMF Health on the new LINAC treatment facility here at the Western General Hospital. At a time when patients may feel stressed or anxious, having a treatment space that is bright and welcoming is critical. The space will combine architectural and interior design specifically aimed at helping to improve people's sense of wellbeing with our amazing, dedicated and expert teams who will deliver exceptional patient care.”

Staff spaces have been designed to be bright and bold to contrast with the clinical spaces, including softer more tactile spaces to support mental health and 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. We kept biophilic design at the forefront to help foster an environment that was connected to nature and to keep the mind nourished and the senses at ease.”

Robertson Construction Central East managing director David Cairns 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. The new LINAC facility further illustrates the commitment of NHS Lothian to provide first class facilities and services for patients, visitors and staff.”

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