Cancer services and world-leading research projects at the Royal Free London will benefit from a £16 million investment, bringing huge benefits to patients and staff.

The funding will be made available through grants distributed by the Royal Free Charity, and be used to develop new and innovative therapies as well as to purchase the latest medical equipment, with a particular focus on cancer.

The RFL's cancer service is one of the busiest of all NHS trusts in London. The RFL received over 42,000 suspected cancer referrals and treated over 3,000 first cancer treatments in 2021. Cancer diagnoses are expected to increase and the number of people with cancer in North Central London is due to grow from 42,000 to 60,000 by 2030

As part of the same investment strategy, the Royal Free Charity will support a raft of new projects to improve staff wellbeing and patient experience.

The money has been earmarked for a number of projects across the Royal Free London, including:

Cancer fellowships to find new treatments

To accelerate the development of new cancer therapies and improve patients’ access to cutting-edge clinical trials, the RFL aims to expand the number of major research studies it conducts, with a particular focus on lung, kidney, liver, and skin cancers – areas in which the trust is a global leader. This investment, in the form of cancer research fellowships, brings with it the potential to attract further funding from external bodies, including other charities and healthcare companies.

Investing in the best equipment

A £4 million investment in the latest medical equipment will allow the RFL to continue to provide the very best care to patients.

Complementary therapies for cancer patients

A £1 million investment is earmarked to provide services for cancer patients to complement their clinical care. This will include massage and other treatments to improve the experience of patients at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital.

Staff wellbeing

Investing in support for staff is an absolute priority for both the RFL and the Royal Free Charity – ensuring the workforce is happy and healthy.

New grants will fund psychological support for RFL staff, and vital staff development initiatives around inclusion and diversity.

Royal Free London group chief executive Caroline Clarke said: “I’m delighted that this money can be invested in a range of vital services for patients and staff. This is a challenging period for the NHS so this additional funding will ensure we are doing our very best to improve the experiences of our patients and supporting our staff as they continue to provide the very best care. We would like to thank the charity for their ongoing support.”

Jon Spiers, the chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Royal Free London to ensure the experience of patients is the best it can be, support the incredible staff of our local NHS and fund world-leading research bringing tangible benefits to patients in the communities we serve locally and globally. But even with this major new investment in our cancer services, we know there’s much more to do – the RFL treats more cancer patients than any other trust in London and we’re reliant on the generosity of our supporters to improve lives every day.”