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Cancer charity helps health staff brush up their clinical skills

Health professionals will be able to brush up their clinical skills thanks to the generosity of a North-east cancer charity.

The Friends of ANCHOR charity has given £26,000 to the new multi-million pound medical education and clinical training centre being developed by the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian at Foresterhill.

The charity's donation to the £16.5m Matthew Hay project will fund a drop-in area for medical students, doctors and other professionals to brush up their technique in procedures such as endoscopy and other advanced diagnostic investigations which help detect early signs of cancer and other conditions.

The drop-in area will be located on the clinical skills training floor of the new building which will provide state-of-the-art education and training for medical students, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and a range of clinical staff, learning and practising together as one team. The clinical skills floor will feature state-of-the-art simulators which accurately mimic a range of symptoms and the responses of patients undergoing the procedure.

The opportunity to 'drop in' for individual practice – in addition to planned training sessions – is only possible because of the close proximity of the new building to the wards of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and the maternity and children's hospitals. This location is one of the features – together with the acknowledged quality of teaching, and the advanced technology employed – which is expected to make the new centre the finest of its kind in the UK.

Jim Milne, Chairman of the Friends of ANCHOR said: "Friends of ANCHOR is delighted to support the Matthew Hay Project by funding the clinical drop-in area. This has been made possible by the generosity of the people of the North-east whose continued support is quite wonderful.

"We realise how important it is that Aberdeen remains one of the leaders in providing quality training and development for the medical profession. By supporting this project we believe we will see an even higher standard of care and service offered to patients while attending the ANCHOR Unit.

"The charity celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and will continue to purchase vital equipment for the ANCHOR Unit, which the NHS cannot fund, offer additional services, care and support as well as funding ground-breaking cancer research projects at the University of Aberdeen's Institute of Medical Sciences."

Dr Andrew Hutcheon, consultant oncologist and head of the ANCHOR Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: "This is another major contribution from Friends of ANCHOR. This facility will improve staff training and therefore the care of all patients including those with cancer.Over the past ten years Friends of ANCHOR have contributed over £1.5 million pounds to obtain state of the art equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and to fund cutting edge research to improve cancer care to patients in the Grampian Region, Orkney and Shetland."  

The fundraising appeal was launched last year to contribute at least a further £4.5m to the total of £12m already committed by the University and NHS Grampian. The appeal is chaired by Professor Sir Graeme Catto, President of the General Medical Council and an Aberdeen graduate.

Professor Catto said: "On behalf of the appeal committee – and all the patients and staff who will benefit from this exciting project - I want to thank the Friends of ANCHOR for their generous support. This further boost to our fundraising appeal means that we have now topped £3.3m. This is an incredible sum to have raised in just twelve months. The help of all our supporters means that we are well on track to ensuring that this first-class facility with state-of-the-art technology – together with teaching of the highest quality, and the benefits of close proximity to clinical activity – will make this development the finest medical education and clinical training centre in the UK. "

The University and NHS Grampian are joint partners in the Matthew Hay Project which will see the £16.5 million purpose-built facility open at Foresterhill early 2009. Designed by Edinburgh-based architects Bennetts Associates, this will provide the ideal modern environment to teach anatomy and clinical skills to the next generation of doctors and be a superb training facility, equipped with the latest technology, for the continuing professional development of all healthcare workers at all stages of their careers. The five-storey building will also provide first-class conference and lecture facilities, a simulated ward area for the training of students and staff, an IT training suite and a café and social areas designed to encourage informal mixing of different professionals and specialisms, adding further value to shared training.

Progress towards construction is well on track. Planning permission was granted last September and work on the access roads has already begun. Construction will begin onsite in May this year, with the building scheduled for completion in late 2008. 

 Friends of ANCHOR (FoA) is a registered charity formed in 1997 to raise funds on behalf of the ANCHOR unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for research into the causes of cancer and improve treatment of patients with these diseases. The monies raised are used to purchase extra equipment using advanced technology to further improve the diagnosis, care and patients suffering from all forms of cancer. Last year Friends of ANCHOR awarded £156,000 to the University of Aberdeen to fund research into bowel cancer, which is more common in the north-east of Scotland than anywhere else in the UK.

 Professor Matthew Hay (1855-1932) was the original pioneer of the Foresterhill complex, which is believed to be the largest healthcare and education campus in Europe. In the 1920s he convinced city fathers of the importance of locating treatment, prevention of disease and education together on one site. Following a vigorous fundraising campaign, work began on the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in 1928 to be followed shortly afterwards by the maternity hospital and medical school. This project, being developed in his name, is the last piece in the jigsaw.

More information on the Matthew Hay project is available on

Photo Caption details:

From left to right they are:

Dr Rona Patey, consultant anaesthetist and Director of the Clinical Skills Centre at Foresterhill (demonstrating a cannulation), Jim Milne, Chairman of the Friends of ANCHOR, Professor Mike Greaves, Head of the University's School of Medicine  and Fiona Pearson, Fundraising Manager, Friends of ANCHOR.





Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Tuesday 27th of March 2007

Contact: Jennifer Phillips

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