Helen Bailey, new Chief Executive at The London Borough of Sutton, introduces some of the benefits The London Cancer Hub is due to bring to the local area.
“Game-changing ovarian cancer drug which extends survival by three years gets NHS green light.”
I woke up to this headline the other day. It was another amazing breakthrough about to change lives for the better. The drug attracting international recognition was olaparib, which scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London discovered, which allows clinicians to genetically target the women most likely to benefit.
The latest trial showing its benefit was the product of collaboration between The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. The media cited London as the home of this collaboration. For those of us who live and work here, we know that this trial was led in Sutton.
Only a few months into my time in Sutton I already feel strongly connected to The London Cancer Hub and proud of the place, its achievements and the fact that the London Borough of Sutton is a key partner.
Finding cures for cancer is the moonshot of our time. Since we are “Ambitious for Sutton” we have been backing this extraordinary work in our community, particularly through our help with buying the land, and we are determined to attract the best development partner to build the next stage of The London Cancer Hub.
The clinicians, life scientists and technicians will bring with them collaborators, suppliers, partners and spin-outs. They will also create jobs in the supply chain and in support roles, whether directly in the laboratories or indirectly in the wider economy. We estimate that 13,000 jobs will be created in our borough if we get this right, benefiting everyone from construction workers and chemists to baristas and biologists. The impact on the economy will be huge – around £1.2bn per year.
The quest for cures for cancer should enthuse our community and inspire our schoolchildren and young people. Few families are untouched by the disease, and having a family member working on this is something of which to be proud.
I am also excited by the thought that as we develop the London Cancer Hub, we have to improve the infrastructure for the whole borough, including new and better transport, improved education facilities and new and better homes. The project’s success and our investment cannot fail to impress upon the Mayor of London and the Government the need to support this endeavour.
This ambition for our borough is why we are letting a £350m contract to develop the site, realising all this potential for the benefit of our local people. By bringing in jobs, businesses, revenues and infrastructure we will make this an even better place to live, go to school, work and bring up a family.
Image of Helen Bailey courtesy of Sutton Council.