A MULTI million-pound cancer centre has opened its doors to patients who will be able to benefit from the latest research, therapies and treatments.

The Sir Robert Ogden Cancer Centre at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, has been in the planning for the last four years, and has finally been unveiled to excited staff and patients.

Patients and staff have been consulted throughout the planning process and their input can be seen in every area of the centre, from the chemotherapy areas and chairs to extra toilet facilities.

The Northern Echo had an exclusive tour of the centre before opening to the public.

The centre, which has been funded by the South Tees Hospital Trust, Sir Robert Ogden, and a mass of donations from the community, is built around a central garden which is what patients requested so they could always see sky and green trees.

There are six consulting rooms, treatment rooms for minor procedures, a family room, complementary therapies room, and a large, open-plan chemotherapy room.

There is also a corridor connecting it to the main Friarage Hospital, and there is an area to speak to the Macmillan team for advice.

Macmillan lead cancer nurse Nicky Hand said: “This new building is so important and we are thrilled with it.

“For staff, it gives them the space to work, and the understanding that we value what they are doing. Working in an environment like this allows them to deliver a quality service – although they always have, they now have the tools to make it easier for them to do their job.

“The big thing for patients was they wanted to see blue sky and green grass, which now they can no matter where they are in the building.

“They are here for long days and they said they want to be able to move around, chat to other patients, but be able to have privacy when they want it.”

The £10m centre expects to host more than 4,500 chemotherapy sessions per year with patients being helped emotionally from Macmillan volunteers.

Former cancer patient and volunteer Ken Smith, 75, of East Cowton said: “This is going to be life changing for us because we were working with an old unit which needed to be updated.

“We have now got a state-of-the-art centre which will, for the next 20-years be a centre of excellence where people can come and have a really good outcome.”

Mr Smith received treatment at the hospital’s old facility for more than two years before his voluntary role at the centre helping cancer patients.

“I got involved as I was a patient here in the old Mowbray Suite, having had my treatment here I wanted to give something back.”