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Cancer care has undergone a revolution in the past few decades; treatment methods are evolving and survival rates are rising. As this develops, so has the approach to the changing needs of the patients; many patients now require less time in hospital isolation - they can receive treatment in the day and stay in private accommodation in the evening.

The UCLH “patient hotel” provides a place for patients who are undergoing treatment from the NHS to stay. Opened in July 2012 at a cost of £4.5M, the hotel contains 35 rooms; made up of 27 twin/king rooms, five single rooms, two disabled rooms and one self-catering junior suite. All rooms are purpose-designed for comfort and practicality – to cater to guests’ every need.

“Every room in the Cotton Rooms is maintained to the equivalent of a four star hotel”, says Michela Genoni, Hotel Manager. “The hotel is equipped to provide the best possible comfort for patients undergoing treatments.” She explains that each guest is given all the luxury extras that a four star hotel provides, from a pair of slippers, to a bath-robe, to linen sheets, and possibly the best part, the hotel is free for NHS patients.

Michela says that the hotel offers specialist facilities to make the guests feel at home and each room is equipped with a safety alarm and contains a fridge for guests to keep medication. “There is a laundry room, a kitchen area, and a beautiful lounge area.”

The hotel was purposely designed by leading healthcare architects, Llewelyn Davies to provide a safe and comfortable environment for patients. The design process included a comprehensive survey of patients to understand what would make the facility feel patient focussed, whilst maintaining a four star ambience.

“There is no wonder that patients give such fantastic reviews, we receive such amazing comments from guests, who always speak of the excellent service of the staff”, Michela says. “Patients like what the hotel provides. It is a hotel where all residents are going through the same thing; it is a place of comfort where patients can reflect and have all of their needs cared for, to make an unbearable time that little bit more bearable.”

The hotel sees over 1000 guests per year typically spending between one and 25 nights at the hotel. Michela makes sure that each of these guests receives the best standard of service: “One cancer patient who was recently put up in a top London hotel even complained that it wasn’t a patch on ours – the service and friendliness of our staff couldn’t be matched.”

Michela explains how the staff help to satisfy the hotel’s four star rating that the hotel boasts: “Staff are trained to the highest standard. They talk to patients, and ask them how they are but at the same time, they respect the privacy that cancer patients need. That’s why each guest is given a do not disturb sign for their room so they can enjoy intimate moments with their family without any disturbance from the cleaners.”

Based on Tottenham Court Road, the hotel is just a stone’s throw away from University College Hospital and within a one-mile radius of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. This makes it easy for guests to travel to and from treatment and with the development of the UCLH Proton Beam Centre in progress, UCLH expects an influx of cancer patients travelling to London for treatment by 2020. Peter Burroughs, Development Director at UCLH Charity says that to accommodate this, options for further expansion are being considered.

According to Peter, the hotel is financially viable to the NHS. He explains that the accommodation is an alternative to putting a patient up in a hospital bed, which would cost £350 per night or putting a patient up in a London hotel, which would cost £185 per night. “At £134 per night, the Cotton Rooms is therefore the cheapest option.”

Guests are referred to the Cotton Rooms by specialist clinicians who deem the patient suitable to stay at the hotel.

To find out more about the Cotton Rooms, visit the Cotton Rooms website: http://www.cottonrooms.com/info.htmlTo find out more about the Proton Beam Centre or the new clinical facility coming soon in 2019, visit the UCLH Website: http://www.uclh.nhs.uk/aboutus/NewDev/NCF/PBT/Pages/Home.aspx