Phase 3 (1970 to 1990)
On 21 July 1970 the opening ceremony of the new extensions was performed.
The hospital expanded to include two more wards, an outpatients’ department, medical records department, Matron's Office, the Cancer Registry - already recognised as one of the most successful and comprehensive registry services in the country - medical and nursing staff offices, finishing kitchen, patients' and staff dining rooms and staff changing accommodation.
The first modern simulator was installed in 1974, to be followed by a second in 1984.
The value of computerisation for radiotherapy dose calculation was increasingly recognised and the hospital developed its own computer for this purpose that filled a whole room!
By 1974 most of the old huts had been replaced by new, purpose-built wards. The Wirral Manx Society provided generous support for these developments. The Snowdon, Dee, Conway, Snaefell, Mersey and Sulby wards, a new theatre, medical offices, medical records office and administrative areas and a Clinical Research Unit were all added. This was the first time that all clinical radiotherapy services for the Mersey Region had been housed in one, permanent building.
The centre also changed its name - to the Mersey Regional Centre for Radiotherapy and Oncology.
Yet even these developments could not satisfy rising demand and, by the late 1970s, the unit needed to expand again to meet extra patient numbers and new treatment techniques. The Mullard 6 was replaced with a Phillips SL75-14 accelerator and a Dynaray 4 accelerator was added.
By 1980 the unit could boast three accelerators, one Cobalt unit, simulator and imaging services and new ward accommodation. Yet some services, such as the mould room, technical and scientific and photography still remained in converted huts.
At this time the decision was made to replace the use of traditional radium with a remote Caesium afterloading system. The first low dose rate Selectron was installed in 1981 with the second in 1982. Rooms were specially designed at the far ends of Dee and Mersey Wards.
Patient numbers, though, were still rising and a decision was taken to undertake large-scale expansion at the unit.
Between 1984 and 1987 two new bunkers were built and four new accelerators replaced three old ones. All the remaining huts were replaced. In order to house the new equipment, the remaining Cobalt machine was removed. The first accelerator, installed in 1958, was also removed at this time, just short of its 30th birthday.
A new imaging facility was built, the CT scanner was installed in 1984 and the Gamma camera in 1988. In addition the Medical Research Council, in 1980, chose Clatterbridge as a centre at which a Cyclotron would be installed for Proton and Neutron trials. This was installed in 1984.
By the 1990s Clatterbridge possessed five accelerators, two simulators, CT, Gamma camera and MRI with all services housed in purpose-built accommodation. New dose calculation computer facilities were added, capable of multi-plane calculation.
Government changes to the NHS saw the unit become a trust in 1992. At this time the Centre installed a high dose Selectron in a specially constructed room adjacent to the theatre. This provided even greater benefits for patients by reducing treatment times still further.
Consultant staff also started to hold clinics in over 23 locations across the region at this time, providing a better service for patients and consolidating the links with physicians and surgeons.