Duke of York and Princess Eugenie visit RNOH
The Duke of York and Princess Eugenie officially opened the magnificent new Stanmore Building at the RNOH.
The £50 million building, which fuses the latest architectural design and health technology with contemporary art to produce a stunning and unique environment for patients and staff, was partly financed by the RNOH Charity’s Redevelopment Appeal. The official Patron of the Appeal is Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie, who in 2002 underwent corrective surgery at the hospital for scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
His Royal Highness The Duke of York has been Patron of the RNOH since 2003, and was accompanied on the visit by Princess Eugenie.
The Royal Party met with staff and patients during their visit to the new five-storey Stanmore Building, which contains wards and therapy units for 119 inpatients, and replaces many of the old and severely outdated ward units that date back as far as World War 2.
Cutting-edge technology is also an integral feature of the Stanmore Building. This includes a secure hands-free staff communication system, digital signage, bedside entertainment and communication systems for all patients, and a state-of-the-art interactive robot called Pepper introduced to Princess Eugenie during the visit. Based on the children’s ward, Pepper is able to converse with people, take instructions, play games, and is even capable of face recognition and reading human emotions. This is a first for an NHS hospital.
Much of this technology has been funded by the RNOH Charity, which ran the Redevelopment Appeal and strengthens the vital work of the RNOH on an ongoing basis by providing extra services and facilities that are beyond the reach of the hospital’s NHS budget. These include two rehabilitation gyms, a social space for teenagers, an interactive children’s activity centre, and high specification scanning equipment to ensure the RNOH remains a leader in the early diagnosis of cancer.
A particular focus for the RNOH Charity has been enhancing the Stanmore Building with a range of stunning artwork to help uplift and inspire patients. These include ‘Tribe’, a 33-foot long hanging installation in the building’s atrium, which was designed and fabricated by Studio Roso, and beautiful wall decorations throughout all the wards which are based on the popular children’s book ‘The Lost Words’ by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
21 artworks have been installed in the gallery waiting areas of all four new wards, contributing to the enhancement of the new building. These works have been loaned through the gallery Hauser & Wirth, of which Princess Eugenie is a Director.
While the Stanmore Building may now be open, the Princess’s involvement with the RNOH Charity is far from over. Today Princess Eugenie announced her Patronage of the Charity going forward, with an immediate focus on raising funds to provide similar enhancements for another major new building which is scheduled to open in 2020.
His Royal Highness The Duke of York said: “To be able to come here today and see this new building has been such a pleasure. The patient care that Eugenie received when she was here was brilliant and she is a testament to that.
“Being able to visit this new Stanmore Building and to see everyone working together to produce outstanding clinical outcomes is absolutely brilliant and I would like to wish you all every success. Thank you for all that you do and thank you to the people who have, over the last 40 years, brought the RNOH to where we are today. This is an outstanding addition to the world of the NHS.”
Speaking during her visit, Princess Eugenie said: “It is such an honour to be here today, I feel like my bones and my blood are a part of this building.
“I learnt on this visit today that we all share in something with this building because we care, and so to us it is very important that we are here opening this new building and that Jack, as my newly married husband on his first event has been able to come and see where I had my operation.
“It is such a huge honour and thank you to everyone who has been a part of this because the Stanmore is such a brilliant building and it represents RNOH’s ethos. Today I’m delighted to say that I’m now Patron of the RNOH charity.”
Rosie Stolarski, CEO of the RNOH Charity, said: “Princess Eugenie has been a dedicated patron to our Redevelopment Appeal and we are thrilled that she is now on board long term. She is living proof of the way that this hospital can change people’s lives. With her support, and under the banner of our exciting new brand identity, we can guarantee outstanding healthcare for the RNOH’s patients within a world-class environment.”
Professor Anthony Goldstone, Chair of the RNOH and of the RNOH Charity’s Arts Committee, said “The stunning artwork that is now in situ throughout the Stanmore Building really helps to bring our new inpatient block to life. It provides patients, staff and visitors with an uplifting environment and a welcome distraction from the clinical setting. The hospital is indebted to the RNOH Charity and our Royal Patrons for their ongoing commitment and support.”