Brightening up cancer care

Forbo Flooring Systems installs high-performance flooring solutions at Milton Keynes cancer centre

Natural materials and colours have been used to help identify spaces and improve circulation at the new cancer centre at Milton Keynes University Hospital

Combining contemporary aesthetics with high performance, an array of solutions from Forbo Flooring Systems has been installed throughout the new cancer centre at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH).

Designed by Ryder Architecture, the facility brings patient experience to the fore, and the integrated flooring scheme seamlessly guides users through the building.

An extension of the main hospital, the cancer centre brings all cancer services, which were previously dispersed across three locations, under one roof for the first time.

Split over two floors, the £15m facility offers a 24-bed inpatient ward, outpatient consultation rooms, procedure and specialist treatment rooms, a chemotherapy suite, and a wellbeing support service.

Toby Ingle, associate at Ryder Architecture, said: “We took into account every aspect of the environment, from the design and use of the space to the user’s journey, in order to make the centre as welcoming and accessible as possible for patients, while also supporting their comfort and wellbeing.

“As the building is curved, the ground floor is essentially a circular loop that is split into three main zones: the main reception and wellbeing lounge, outpatient zone, and chemotherapy.

“This layout enables patients to easily navigate their way through the building on the day of an appointment, from check-in through to treatment.

“It was therefore vital that the patient journey was seamless and through the use of flooring, we were able to achieve a smooth transition from one zone to the next.

The choice of flooring aimed to make the centre as welcoming and accessible as possible for patients

“We opted for a timber effect in all of the circulation spaces to provide a sense of continuity., while in the non-clinical areas – such as the lift lobby and main reception right up to the front door of outpatients, as well as in the corridor upon exiting the chemotherapy suite – we chose Forbo’s Allura Flex Wood Luxury Vinyl Tile planks in White Autumn Oak, which were installed in a staggered pattern.

“The playful use of the planks really adds a sense of dimension to the space, making it a much-more-friendly environment, as opposed to being cold and ‘institutional’. The planks are also easy to clean and can be replaced easily if damaged, thanks to their modular format.”

The shape of the building meant that the decision was made early on in the design process to fit the planks horizontally, rather than vertically.

“This made it easier to finish the planks against the corridor line where we could install a skirting, rather than coving up the wall”, said Ingle.

“To foresee any installation challenges, we worked with the Forbo team and tested the fitting method to make sure that we got it right.”

As the building moves through into the circulation spaces of the outpatients and chemotherapy zones, Allura Flex Wood transitions into Eternal Wood general purpose vinyl in the Elegant Oak colourway.

The tones were deliberately matched to seamlessly connect the spaces, and the authentic shade also had to work with the timber joinery.

From a design perspective, the soft, and subtle sparkle effect of the Colour range was perfect for brightening up the consultation rooms and breaking up the bays in the chemotherapy suite, without being overpowering

Eternal Colour was also used in the outpatient consultation rooms, chemotherapy suite, and specialist treatment rooms, as well as the 24-bed inpatient ward and staff areas on the first floor.

Ingle said: “We have used Eternal on many of our projects, so we were well aware of its performance capabilities.

“From a design perspective, the soft, and subtle sparkle effect of the Colour range was perfect for brightening up the consultation rooms and breaking up the bays in the chemotherapy suite, without being overpowering.

The Eternal Colour range, with its soft, subtle sparkle effect was used to brighten up the consultation rooms and break up the bays in the chemotherapy suite

“We used calming pastel shades, where the pared back patterning provided the ideal canvas for the furniture and equipment to sit on top of.”

Due to the calandered backing and balanced construction, Eternal products ensure the lowest-possible residual indentation, which is ideal for the cancer centre’s use of heavy equipment, furniture and rolling loads.

The high-tech PUR Pearl finish and PVC wear layer also means staff can be confident that the flooring will maintain its as-new appearance – even after years of intensive use.

Ingle concludes: “For all of the wetrooms and areas that might be prone to spillages, such as toilets, shower room en-suites, utility rooms as well as the tea point, we specified Surestep Star safety vinyl for its guaranteed lifetime slip resistance.

“Using Step Crystals in the wear layer, this makes for a clean, fresh design, and the Trout colourway works nicely with the concise colour palette that we had opted for throughout the interior.

“We took a holistic approach to the design of the cancer centre and all of Forbo’s solutions have come together to help us to achieve a beautiful and practical integrated flooring scheme that seamlessly connects the spaces.”

Alison Sandaver, Macmillan lead for chemotherapy and a teenage and young adult nurse at the hospital, adds: “The design of the cancer centre is truly amazing.

“Staff and patients alike really appreciate what has been created and the aesthetics of the building provides a spacious, bright and clean environment for all affected by cancer in Milton Keynes.

“The design has enabled an improved flow throughout the department which ultimately has improved the experience of patients.

The project was delivered through the ProCure22 Framework where Forbo Flooring Systems is an approved supplier on the scheme.