13 March 2024

Supporting Edinburgh Cancer Centre: Expanding Capacity to Accelerate Progress in Cancer Care

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NHS Lothian Charity has helped to increase quality and efficiency of cancer care, as part of NHS Lothian’s ongoing programme of infrastructure works at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre. Working in collaboration, funding was provided to support the development of increased clinical trials capacity, improved cancer treatment facilities and the expansion of trials activity.


Clinical trials is about giving patients access to the most innovative, targeted treatment available. It is also about getting the data delivered accurately and in a timely manner to allow for the trial to be assessed as successful or not and to make the treatment standard of care quicker.

However, the Clinical Trials Unit was overcrowded and the team needed to find a way they could continue to support an enhanced delivery of service.


Thanks to generous donations from NHS Lothian Charity supporters, the Edinburgh Cancer Centre team was able to access funding to help refurbish the area to deliver better patient-centred care.

  • Expand the clinical trials treatment area by 50% in Ward 1, creating space for more patients and more opportunity for clinical research.
  • Develop new office space for the clinical trials team, fostering collaboration and supporting future growth.
  • Wider improvement of ward 1 facilities to enhance patient experience, staff experience and research opportunities.


  • Increased Capacity: The clinical trials treatment delivery area has been expanded by 50%, to aid the delivery of out-patient systematic anti-cancer therapy (SACT*), including clinical trial therapies. The improvements also include a new ‘cool chair’ area and the expansion of pharmacy in order to enhance patient and staff experience.
  • Improved Patient Care: The larger area supports the shift in how patients are treated with a reduction in the length of in-patient stays whilst also allowing for better patient-centred care and faster recruitment for trials.
  • Improved Patient Outcomes: Wider range and types of trials conducted, accelerating progress in cancer research and care.
  • Improved Clinical Practice: Data managers are now overseeing blood sample storage and recording taking it off the nurses and allowing more time for nurses to spend with patients. There is also better opportunities for working across teams and sharing ideas and best practice
  • Research Acceleration: Data managers were previously based in different areas across the hospital. Having them located in one area streamlines data management and collaboration which enables faster trial completion and analysis, leading to quicker development of new standard treatments. The number of trials the unit can now open has been substantially increased, including more radiotherapy trials which gives more patients the opportunity to have more targeted treatments.
  • Enhanced Staff Wellbeing: Bringing the data managers together in a dedicated workspace fosters teamwork, boosts morale, and increases engagement.
  • Enhanced Reputation for the Edinburgh Cancer Centre as a world class cancer centre, attracting top talent and potentially generating revenue.

Being located in the same area helped us get patients back on trials quicker after COVID. The space allowed us to distance from each other and the new equipment in the meeting room meant we could hold meetings about trials effectively online. One supplier reported back to say that we were the fastest trials unit to reopen and restart after Covid.

“There is also an area where staff can take breaks. The team are happy and engaged. The area is fresh and bright and staff have reported feeling much happier in the space. It just works.”

Dot Boyle, Clinical Trials Unit

This project was designed to complement NHS Lothian’s overall Oncology Enabling programme of works and demonstrates the power of the strategic partnership between NHS Lothian and NHS Lothian Charity in improving cancer care. By addressing infrastructure limitations, the Edinburgh Cancer Centre is now positioned to expedite breakthroughs in cancer research and deliver exceptional patient care now and for years to come.

Working together, we are supporting NHS Lothian with its ambitious journey to create a world class cancer centre.

*SACT is any drug treatment used to control or treat cancer.

With your support, we can continue to support breakthroughs in cancer care.