NHS 70: Cancer Care


By Chris Thornton

In the first of a series of blogs, Health Sector Lead, Chris Thornton, explores how ADP has enhanced patient wellbeing through the careful design of cancer care environments.

Creating uplifting and therapeutic environments that protect the privacy, dignity, and wellbeing of patients, is essential for people living with cancer. 

For more than 30 years, ADP has been delivering cancer care facilities, working collaboratively with the NHS and the Macmillan cancer charity, alongside organisations such as the Teenage Cancer Trust. As a result, we have delivered over 150 cancer related facilities and utilised a multitude of strategies, to help put the patient at the forefront of the design.

At the award-winning Cove project, the Cornish coastline provided design inspiration and imbued the centre with a coherent identity: a relaxed environment, full of natural materials that represent the people and place of Cornwall. Similarly, the Delamere Centre in Runcorn, provides complimentary therapies and support in the heart of a busy hospital: A calming, stress-free environment is achieved through the use of artwork and imagery by artist, Alison Milner. The landscape and nature of the river Mersey is illustrated on surfaces and materials, including walls, teacups, scarves and furniture, so that the centre is truly personal to the people of Runcorn.

In Hereford, the Macmillan Renton Unit utilises the external landscape to provide a restful garden space, while interiors are enhanced by artwork produced by artists in collaboration with patients and staff. Focused around a circular courtyard, with satellite radiotherapy and oncology areas, the centre has been designed to leave patients feeling comforted and cared for. At Worthing Hospital, a standalone breast care centre creates a hub, sensitive to balancing the needs of screening, diagnosis and treatment.

Sitting on the wooded edge of West Suffolk Hospital, the St Nicholas Hospice is the fruition of the Macmillan Green concept, developed back in the 1980s, and creating a village ‘centre’ through the inclusion of community space. Other palliative care projects have ranged from single bed care rooms at Barnstaple Hospital, through to extensive, planned cancer wards at Guy’s Hospital.

In each and every project, we have endeavoured to create environments that preserve patient dignity and wellbeing, during what is often one of the most stressful and emotional period in patients’ lives.

By putting the patient first, balancing the needs of staff and clinical users, and considering each project in its own, unique geographical and social context, we have been able to deliver environments that actively help people ‘live’ life with cancer.


Chris Thornton

Chris Thornton

Chris joined ADP in 1991. Leading our healthcare team, Chris is instrumental
in developing our work in the
health sector. Chris draws upon
his wide experience of
managing projects and clients,
to become a regular speaker
at healthcare conferences.