HomeCase reportsIntegrated scheme ‘brightens up cancer care’

Integrated scheme ‘brightens up cancer care’

COMBINING contemporary aesthetics with what’s described as exceptional performance, an array of solutions from Forbo Flooring Systems’ portfolio have been installed throughout the state-of-the-art cancer centre at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH).

Designed by Ryder Architecture, the facility brings patient experience to the fore, where the integrated flooring scheme reportedly seamlessly guides users through the building. The prestigious project took home the winner’s accolade in the 2020/21 annual Fly Forbo competition.

An extension of the main hospital, the cancer centre at MKUH brings together the cancer services under one roof, which were previously provided from three separate locations on the hospital site. Split over two floors, the £15m dedicated facility offers a 24-bed inpatient ward, outpatient consultation rooms, procedure and specialist treatment rooms, a chemotherapy suite, alongside a wellbeing support service.

International design practice, Ryder, was brought on board to design the interior.
Toby Ingle, associate, said: ’We considered 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 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, outpatients 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 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.

‘We opted for a timber effect in all of the circulation spaces to provide a sense of continuity. 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 the decision was made early on in the 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,’ explained Toby.

’To foresee installation challenges, we worked with the Forbo team and tested the fitting method to ensure we got it right. Forbo’s business area managers, Fiona Craddock and Richard Barden, were instrumental in helping us deliver a successful project.’

As the building moves through into the circulation spaces of the outpatients and chemotherapy zones – the more clinical areas – 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. Expertly designed to meet the highest aesthetic standards, Eternal has a proven track record of delivering beautiful and reliable solutions in healthcare environments.

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. Toby continued: ‘We’ve 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. We used calming pastel shades, where the pared back patterning provided the ideal canvas for the furniture and equipment to sit on top of.’

Says Forbo: ‘Owing 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 wearlayer also means the staff at MKUH can be confident the flooring will maintain its as-new appearance – even after years of intensive use.’

Toby concluded: ’For all the wet-rooms 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 wearlayer, this makes for a clean, fresh design, and the Trout colourway works nicely with the concise colour palette we’d opted for throughout the interior.

‘We took a holistic approach to the design of the cancer centre and Forbo’s solutions have come together to help us to achieve a beautiful and practical integrated flooring scheme that seamlessly connects the spaces. I’m really pleased with the outcome of the project and how every element of the interior works together to create an environment that promotes patient comfort and experience.’

Alison Sandaver, Macmillan lead chemotherapy & teenage and young adult nurse at Milton Keynes University Hospital, commented: ’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. We had a vision of what we really wanted for our patients and this building has achieved it and more.’

Concludes Forbo: ‘The cancer centre project was delivered through the ProCure22 Framework where Forbo Flooring Systems is an approved supplier on the scheme. This provides MKUH with the reassurance that the flooring solutions that have been installed are fit-for-purpose and also makes future maintenance a lot easier for the client.’
For more information about Forbo’s work in the healthcare sector, visit or to register for the Fly Forbo 2021/22 competition, visit

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