The Elective Care, Genetics and Diabetes Centre, an £85 million development on the Cambridge Bio-Medical Campus at Addenbrooke's which will provide facilities for elective (planned) surgery, and for genetics and diabetes, reached another milestone last week when a topping out ceremony was held.

Malcolm Stamp, Addenbrooke's chief executive, Dr Simon Griffin of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Professor Ian Leslie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge represented the three institutions that will share the building.

The new centre, which is planned to open in spring 2007, will house facilities for surgery, including theatres, sterile services and wards, endoscopy, genetics and diabetes. It will be the only centre of its kind in the country to combine patient care with academic research.

The clinical facilities in the centre will be set aside for planned surgery. This will help reduce the incidence of operations being cancelled because of emergency procedures taking priority. The extra capacity will help the hospital meet government targets to reduce waiting times for operations and improve the service for patients.

Facilities for genetics and diabetes will also be incorporated in the building. The Genetics Service, a developing and high profile specialty, will relocate to this new facility from three areas on the hospital campus. The Diabetes Centre, incorporating CIDEM (Cambridge Institute for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism), will bring together clinical and research work which will translate directly into new therapies for patients. The hospital will benefit from the partnership of the University of Cambridge and the MRC (Medical Research Council) Epidemiology Unit who are joining in this initiative to bring together clinical services and research facilities for diabetes.

The centre is being designed, built, financed and maintained by Key Health Services, a consortium between Alfred McAlpine and Hayden Young. Addenbrooke's will pay a monthly fee for the facilities. This PFI scheme differs from other schemes reported in the media in that the centre is an addition to an existing hospital and will be fully integrated within the Trust, not run as a separate facility.

The University is contributing £15 million to the scheme and the MRC £5 million.

Picture shows the Topping Out ceremony with (l-r) Dr Simon Griffin, Medical Research Council; Professor Steve O'Rahilly, Head of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry; Dr Mary Archer and Malcolm Stamp, Chairman and Chief Executive of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and Professor Ian Leslie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Cambridge.

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