A new £6 million state-of-the-art urology centre was opened at the Royal Surrey County Hospital (March 5, 2019) by HRH The Duke of Kent.

Touring the brand-new facility and unveiling a commemorative plaque, the Duke praised the tireless fund-raising which has enabled the centre to open. Some £3 million has been donated through the Prostate Project, spearheaded by chairman Colin Stokes MBE, who was treated for prostate cancer at the Royal Surrey 23 years ago. The rest of the £6 million cost has come from the NHS.

Also present were the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More Molyneux; the High Sheriff of Surrey, Jim Glover; the Deputy Mayor of Guildford, Richard Billington; and the hospital’s chief executive Louise Stead. Professor Stephen Langley, one of the world’s leading prostate cancer specialists, told an audience of local dignitaries, fundraisers, patients and staff that the opening of the centre was a dream come true.

“This centre is going to inspire patients to have confidence when they are at a most anxious and vulnerable time in their lives facing a potential cancer diagnosis. Conceived as an idea 10 years ago, it is a dream come true to see this fabulous centre open, which matches the outstanding clinical results we are able to deliver to our patients.  We will be able to treat more patients, more quickly using the latest techniques in the type of surroundings we would like to be cared for. This building is a beacon to the NHS and what can be achieved when the community and the local hospital work together.”

The new building, named the Stokes Centre of Urology in honour of Colin Stokes, features a cutting-edge theatre for brachytherapy, which uses tiny radioactive seeds to treat prostate cancer. It also includes ultramodern consulting and treatment rooms, as well as a small laboratory for research.

Staff were on hand to demonstrate equipment, including a Da Vinci robot, a robotic platform that allows minimally invasive surgery. Operated from a console, it gives surgeons 10 times magnified 3-D vision. Delicate operations are carried out via wristed instruments that mimic the movement of the human hand.

Among the guests was Paul Higgins, 66, of Rudgwick, West Sussex, who last week became the first patient to have a biopsy at the new Centre.  Paul compared the new centre to a 5* hotel. “It’s a beautiful building, everything is top notch,” he said. “The treatment is first class. To come through the doors and have such amazing treatment is a privilege.”

Mr Higgins, who has a family history of prostate cancer, is waiting to hear the outcome of a biopsy. “Often men don’t like to go to the doctor: they may be embarrassed or don’t want to think there’s anything wrong. In fact, there are lots of success stories out there. If you can catch it early, that’s a good thing.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer among men in the UK, with over 12,000 men dying of it each year.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital is already one of the largest centres for the treatment of prostate cancer in Europe and among the top centres in the world.  Colin Stokes, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Prostate Project said: “This wonderful day is the culmination of 10 years intensive fundraising.  On ​ behalf of our trustees, I want to thank each and every one of the thousands of generous supporters who have helped create this landmark new Centre. We believe it is the largest NHS investment in Urological services for a decade and the only stand-alone building in the UK dedicated and purpose built for Urology patients – men, women and children will receive the finest care available in a state-of-the art facility.”

Louise Stead, Chief Executive of Royal Surrey, said: “Royal Surrey is already proud to be a world leader in the care and treatment of prostate cancer, ensuring our patients benefit from the most advanced therapy available close to home.  The new centre will ensure that this exceptional care and treatment will now be delivered from a modern and purpose built facility that will benefit both our patients and their families for many years to come.

“I would like to thank the Prostate Project and its generous donors for their commitment and tireless fundraising efforts that have helped make this ambitious project a reality.”

For further photos from the day, please visit: https://www.royalsurrey.nhs.uk/service-list/urology/

Photo credit: Guildford Dragon and Royal Surrey County Hospital.

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