23 May 2019
The Duke of York opened the new Chase Farm Hospital (CFH) today, which is one of the most digitally advanced hospitals in the country.
At the new £200 million hospital, which opened to patients last year, HRH helped staff bury a time capsule in the grounds to be discovered by future generations.
The Duke of York has, since 1998, been Patron of the Royal Free London, which runs CFH.
During the visit, HRH was shown around the surgical facilities at the hospital, including the open plan ‘barn’ theatres, which have a specialised air canopy over each station to prevent the spread of infection.
The Duke of York said: “It is a huge pleasure to be here today, particularly as I am Patron of the Royal Free London, and I am amazed at the speed at which this new hospital has been built.
“Hospitals are about increasing the likelihood of better patient outcomes and patient healthcare, and today I have been around this new hospital, met some of your staff, and it is clear that that intent is being delivered.
“I would like to say congratulations on what you have achieved in the short time this hospital has been open. But more importantly, the work that NHS staff do on a daily basis can go unsung and I just want to pay my thanks to everyone here. Please make the most of this fantastic new building, but remember it is nothing without its contents. I wish you all every success, and it genuinely gives me the hugest privilege and pleasure to say that this hospital is well and truly opened.”
Dominic Dodd, the chairman of the Royal Free London, welcomed The Duke and other guests including local MPs to CFH. He said: “The redevelopment of Chase Farm Hospital was achieved at an unprecedented speed for a project of its size. It has taken only four years from inception and drawing board to completion. We were thrilled to welcome our first patients through our new doors last September.
“It contains some fantastic innovations in design – in the theatres as elsewhere in the hospital.
“However, there are also lots of things about Chase Farm Hospital that haven’t changed – chief among them are our wonderful staff. I would like to pay tribute to the Herculean efforts of our staff in running two hospitals alongside each other during the transition to the new hospital and in retaining the culture of care, compassion, teamwork and community that so marked out the old Chase Farm.”
Caroline Clarke, group chief executive of the Royal Free London, added: “Opening a hospital is a once in a lifetime opportunity and this building is absolutely the future of the NHS. This is a really big deal for the local community and we must celebrate this. So thank you to everyone for helping to bring this about.”
Natalie Forrest, the chief executive of Chase Farm Hospital, added: “I would like to pay tribute today to our staff, many of whom I can see here today, who made sure that an excellent service continued to be provided here during four years of building works.
“Thank you for your amazing efforts and your dedication throughout this time of huge change. I hope that you will enjoy and benefit from working in our wonderful new facilities.”
During the visit HRH buried a new time capsule in the grounds of Chase Farm Hospital – after a time capsule from 1884 was unearthed at Chase Farm Hospital in March. The new time capsule contains a copy of the staff magazine, Freepress, a booklet about the opening of CFH, photos of the old time capsule and messages from staff.