Forth Valley Royal earmarked for cancer centre

Scotland's already boasts five Maggie's Centres, including this one in Kirkcaldy
Scotland's already boasts five Maggie's Centres, including this one in Kirkcaldy

Cancer patients and their families could benefit from a world-renowned healthcare facility earmarked for the grounds of the new Larbert hospital.

A Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre is in the pipeline for Central Scotland – and the Forth Valley Royal site is believed to be considered a perfect location.

NHS chiefs have always said that the extensive parkland around the hospital, which is due to be fully operational by mid-July, would be ideal for complementary medical and health facilities.

Maggie’s Centres provide a place to turn to for help with any of the problems, large or small, associated with cancer.

Under one roof people can access information, benefits advice, psychological support, courses and stress reducing strategies. Everything offered is free of charge and people can walk in off the street to meet with staff.

It is understood that talks have already taken place between NHS Forth Valley and officials from the Maggie’s charity.

The health board is staying tight-lipped about the proposal, but in her report to the board last week, chief executive Fiona Mackenzie revealed: “Approval has been received by the strategic projects and property committee to accommodate a Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre within the grounds of Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

“Preliminary sketches have been drafted and initial site visits are being arranged.”

There are currently seven Maggie’s Centres across the UK, five of them in Scotland – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Highlands and Fife. Others are based in London and Cheltenham.

Tricia Crosbie, Maggie’s spokeswoman, said: “We are ambitious to support as many people affected by cancer as possible, and as such if the opportunity arises we would like to expand our network of Maggie’s centres in Scotland further by creating a centre in the Forth Valley.”

Welcoming the news that the facility was in the pipeline, Scotland’s new Minister for Public Health, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, said: “I am pleased to hear that a Maggie’s Centre is being proposed in this constituency. Such a facility would be invaluable and I will discuss the matter with the health board when I meet with them later in the month.”

Councillor Linda Gow, Falkirk Council’s representative on the health board, said: “This sounds like a marvellous proposal and would be of huge benefit for those diagnosed with cancer and their families. I hope everything possible can be done to ensure that a Maggie’s does come to this site.”