Christie NHS Foundation Trust

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The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust is located in Withington, Manchester, and is one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe. The Christie became a NHS Foundation Trust in April 2007 and is also an international leader in cancer research and development, and home to the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research.


Foundation of the Christie Hospital[edit]

The hospital had its beginnings in the largesse of Sir Joseph Whitworth, a wealthy Mancunian inventor who left money in his will in 1887. He wanted this to be spent on good causes in Manchester and entrusted his bequest to three legatees, one of whom was Richard Copley Christie.[1] Consequently, some of that money was used to buy land off Oxford Road, adjacent to Owens College and intended to allow the movement of the central Manchester hospitals out of the crowded city centre.[2] A committee chaired by Christie was established in 1890 and, partly funded by a legacy of £10,000 from Daniel Proctor, a Cancer Pavilion and Home for Incurables was founded on the site in 1892 some distance south-east of the eye hospital.[3] In 1901 it was renamed the Christie Hospital in honour of Richard Christie and his wife Mary.[4] It was the only hospital outside London for the treatment of cancer alone and active in pathological research.[5]

Foundation of the Holt Institute[edit]

In 1901, the Christie Management Committee agreed to the request of Dr Robert Biggs Wild to spend £50 on the equipment necessary to test the efficacy of X ray treatment, after promising results reported from London and from three patients treated in the Physics Laboratory of Professor Schuster locally in Owens College. The Roentgen apparatus was purchased, but no records survive of treatment, and by 1907 the equipment was no longer being used (it was given to the Skin Hospital in 1910).[6] By 1905, Dr Wild had become interested in the therapeutic use of the newly discovered radium and experimented, once more with aid from Professor Schuster, on three patients. Radium was expensive, however, and the management refused to purchase any more until the results of tests from London hospitals were available. By 1914, a leading local doctor, Sir William Milligan, had begun a campaign in the 'Manchester Guardian' to raise funds for radium treatment. Appealing to a mixture of local pride and the contemporary enthusiasm for the curative powers of radium, an appeal was launched, on the advice of Ernest Rutherford, for £25,000. An initial contribution of £2000 from local brewer Edward Holt was not initially much emulated, but following the intervention of the Mayor, a series of 'Radium days' were organized which eventually raised enough money to start a small Radium Institute, initially housed in the Manchester Royal Infirmary. In 1921 it moved to new premises in Nelson Street donated by Sir Edward and Lady Holt, and became the Manchester and District Radium Institute.[6] By contrast with the dispersed and competitive provision of London radiotherapy, Manchester became the first provider of a centralised radiotherapy service, which would have long-lasting effects on the patterns of British cancer care.[7][8]

The Christie at Withington[edit]

In 1932 the Institute, renamed as the Holt Radium Institute, and the Christie Hospital moved to a new joint site in Withington and began to be jointly managed although a formal merger did not occur until 1946.[6]

Ralston Paterson was appointed as Director of the Radium Institute in 1931, and went on to build a world recognised centre for the treatment of cancer by radiation.[8] Among the team was his wife Edith Paterson, who started research work at the Christie in 1938, initially unpaid, and who became a world-renowned pioneer in biological dosimetry, childhood cancers and anti-cancer drug treatment methods.[citation needed] After Ralston Paterson's retirement in 1963, Professor Eric Craig Easson, CBE, was appointed Director of the Christie Hospital. He became world famous for his contribution to the curability of Hodgkin's disease and to cancer education. He was awarded a personal Professorial Chair at the University of Manchester, and was President of the Royal College of Radiologists (1975–1977). He was the government adviser on cancer for many years, and was a prime mover in the Union Internationale Contre Cancer in Geneva, as well as the WHO cancer group. During Professor Easson's tenure as Director, many doctors from throughout the world visited the Christie Hospital to absorb its ethos, but particularly to learn its techniques.

Early impetuses to research came from new local diseases of industrialisation such as mule spinners' cancer and chimney sweep's cancer, and the search for links to machine oils and airborne soot. Subsequent therapeutic milestones have included:[4]

  • 1932 - development of the Manchester Method, the first international standard for radium treatment
  • 1944 - world's first clinical trial of diethylstilbestrol (Stilboestrol) for breast cancer
  • 1970 - world's first clinical use of tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for breast cancer
  • 1986 - world's first use of cultured bone marrow for leukaemia treatment
  • 1991 - world's first single harvest blood stem-cell transplant

Paterson Institute for Cancer Research[edit]

When the Patersons retired in 1962, Professor Laszlo Lajtha was appointed as the first full-time director of the research laboratories, which he named after the Patersons. Lajtha added research into his own fields of interest, experimental haematology and epithelial biology. New research laboratories, provided by the Women's Trust Fund, were opened in 1966. The Women's Trust Fund was a local charity, chaired by Lady Margaret Holt, daughter-in-law of Sir Edward Holt, who left her entire estate of over £8 million to the Christie when she died in 1997.[3] Core funding for the laboratories was secured from the Medical Research Council and the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC). The CRC also located the CRC Department of Medical Oncology, led by Professor Derek Crowther, at the Paterson.[9]

Professor Lajtha was succeeded as Director in 1983 by Professor David Harnden, who introduced molecular biology and built-up cancer genetics. He set up a new Department of Drug Development which combined various groups working on drugs already in the clinic and new generation drugs. He was briefly succeeded by Professor T. Michael Dexter before Professor Nic Jones became the Director in March 1999.[9]

The laboratory has been further enlarged with support from the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, the Cancer Research Campaign, the Christie Hospital Research Endowments and, once again, the Women's Trust Fund. In 1981 the Cancer Research Campaign took over sole responsibility for the major funding of the Institute but the Christie Hospital Research Endowments also provide much support.[9]


The Christie registers around 12,500 new patients and treats about 40,000 patients every year. It is the lead cancer centre for the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cancer Network, covering a population of 3.2 million, and runs clinics at 16 other general hospitals.[10] Around 15% of patients are referred from outside Greater Manchester and Cheshire, and there is also a private patients unit. Patients are referred from district general hospitals, having already had their cancer diagnosed.

The Christie is the largest cancer treatment centre of its kind in Europe and an international leader in research and development. As of 2010 The Christie is home to the largest clinical trials unit of its kind in Europe.

The Christie provides services including specialist surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy,brachytherapy, palliative and supportive care and endocrinology. It has one of the largest radiotherapy departments in the world, with over 80,000 radiotherapy treatments a year. It annually delivers over 30,000 chemotherapy treatments and undertakes around 3,700 operations every year. It has one of the eight dedicated teenage cancer units in the United Kingdom. It has 257 inpatient beds with an average length of stay of seven days.[10]

The hospital has one of the largest clinical trials units in the United Kingdom for phase I/II cancer trials, with around 1,200 patients going on new trials, with plans to double over the next few years to be one of largest clinical trials units in the world.[10]

It is a partner in the Manchester Cancer Research Centre and home to the North West Cancer Information Service, the cancer registry for the whole of the North West region, and the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre.

Foundation Trust[edit]

The Christie became a NHS Foundation Trust on 1 April 2007. It has a total annual turnover of around £143 million. Eight percent of its income is from private patients. Around 2000 staff and over 300 volunteers work at the Christie.[10]

The first Chair of the Trust was Jim Martin. He was replaced in May 2011 by Lord Keith Bradley [11]

Caroline Shaw, the chief executive of the trust, was suspended from her duties on 19 December 2013 while investigations were conducted as part of a disciplinary process. It was alleged that she had made an improper claim for the payment of expenses for a retreat in Ibiza organised by the Young Presidents' Organization, of which she had become a member with the Trust’s agreement.[12] In February 2014 Lord Bradley announced that he would resign from the board as a consequences of disagreements about the way in which the suspension of the Chief Executive was being handled.[13] Sir Hugh Taylor was appointed as interim Chair of the Trust. Shaw resigned in October 2014, having been suspended on full pay for 11 months- amounting to £170,000 and left with another six months salary - just under £100,000.[14]

Dr Kim Holt, chair of the patient safety campaign group Patients First, demanded an independent investigation into claims of bullying, intimidation and dismissal of whistleblowers at the Trust in March 2014.[15] A report was conducted by Monitor (NHS) and the CQC which concluded there was no evidence of serious failings of governance or widespread cultural issues at the trust.[16]


It was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top hundred NHS trusts to work for in 2015. At that time it had 2313 full-time equivalent staff and a sickness absence rate of 3.41%. 92% of staff recommend it as a place for treatment and 73% recommended it as a place to work.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Christie, Richard Copley (DNB01)". Dictionary of National Biography (1901). 1901. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  2. ^ "Manchester Medical Collection: Hospitals and related institutions in the Manchester area". Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  3. ^ a b "Press Release - 13th May 2004". Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  4. ^ a b "History of the Hospital". Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  5. ^ British Medical Association (ed.) (1929) The Book of Manchester and Salford: for the 97th annual meeting. Manchester: George Falkner & Sons
  6. ^ a b c Fox BW (1998). "The history of radium in medicine in Manchester". Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 10 (2): 115–24. PMID 9610901. 
  7. ^ Ronald W. Raven. (1990). The Theory and Practice of Oncology. Informa Healthcare. ISBN 1-85070-179-2. 
  8. ^ a b Pickstone JV (2007). "Contested cumulations: configurations of cancer treatments through the twentieth century". Bull Hist Med. 81 (1): 164–96. doi:10.1353/bhm.2007.0011. PMC 2635842free to read. PMID 17369667. 
  9. ^ a b c "Paterson Institute for Cancer Research - History of the Institute". Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  10. ^ a b c d "About the Christie". Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  11. ^ Keith, Bradley. "Christie appoints new chairman". Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Christie hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw suspended". Manchester Evening News. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Christie hospital chairman Lord Bradley to resign". Manchester Evening News. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Boss of The Christie resigns after investigation into Ibiza trip". Manchester Evening News. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Call for investigation into 'bullying' at cancer trust". Health Service JOurnal. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Health watchdog says The Christie needs to develop 'open culture' for staff to raise concerns". Manchester Evening News. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "HSJ reveals the best places to work in 2015". Health Service Journal. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°25′47″N 2°13′43″W / 53.42972°N 2.22861°W / 53.42972; -2.22861