The first patient to stay overnight in the Pears Building – home to the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT) - has given the new accommodation an emphatic thumbs up.

Debbie Cleeve-Evans, 54, from Gosport, Portsmouth, praised the staff for helping her to feel right at home in the accommodation, which is designed to give patients who live far from the hospital and who don’t need to be cared for on a ward, a place to stay overnight.

In 2019, Debbie had a liver transplant at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH) but earlier this year complications arose around the area of her original surgical scar. Because the operation she required is complex, she was referred back to the specialist surgeons at the RFH.   

The night before her surgery, Debbie was booked into the Pears Building and she said as soon as she walked through the doors she felt taken care of.

“Even though I was the only person staying in the building, I felt totally comfortable,” she said. “It was nothing like being in a hospital, it felt so uplifting and relaxing. The staff were absolutely lovely and made me feel so welcome and really spent time helping me with things like the wifi. There was a wonderful view from my balcony and I even managed to get a decent night sleep ahead of my op.”

The Pears Building, which is a joint project between the Royal Free London, the Royal Free Charity and University College London, is located in the grounds of the RFH.

It will shortly be the new home of the IIT, a world-class research centre where scientists are developing novel therapies for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV and hepatitis.

The building also provides two floors of accommodation for patients like Debbie or for those participating in clinical trials. Previously these patients stayed in local hotels. 

Debbie said that following her surgery, she is trying to take things easy – but was delighted to be the first patient to stay in the Pears Building.

“I’ve had a mesh patch inserted and I must admit I feel a bit like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz,” she said. “But I’m hoping I’ll recover my strength soon. I’m not one for sitting around, I love spending time with my grandchildren and doing all sorts of DIY. The new accommodation is a big plus for us patients, it is a step up from a hotel - I definitely give the place a 100% rating!”

Top image: Debbie Cleeve-Evans outside the Pears Building.

Bottom image: One of the overnight rooms in the Pears Building.