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Staff at Papworth Hospital wear tiaras to celebrate royal status

By Adrian Curtis

Papworth staff overjoyed at royal status
Papworth staff overjoyed at royal status

Papworth Hospital to become the first in the East of England to get royal status.

The award of royal status for Papworth Hospital is an accolade for its talented staff as much as the organisation, according to its CEO Stephen Posey.

The specialist heart and lung hospital received a royal title following approval from Her Majesty The Queen. It will be the first royal hospital in the East of England, in recognition of its pioneering history and continued commitment to developing the treatments of the future.

The name change comes ahead of the trust’s move to a new state-of-the-art hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in 2018, which will also be its centenary year.

But Mr Posey says the royal status is a testimony to its pioneering spirit and professional staff, many of who donned tiaras in celebration on the day it was announced.

He said: “The reason Papworth has received its royal status is threefold really. The first part is the pioneering history of the trust and all the firsts that have been achieved and delivered here, including the first heart transplant.

“The second is our continued commitment to carry on doing that; and the third element is around the quality outcomes we deliver.

“It is all down to our staff. That is in a nutshell why we have received the royal status and have become Royal Papworth Hospital.

“We know this is something that is awarded to organisations very rarely. We are the first in the East of England and that is a fitting tribute to our staff.

“We think it has been many years since a hospital in England has received royal status. This is a real boost to the staff and their morale, it is the ultimate in a quality mark. We have seen lots of our staff incredibly pleased to be Royal Papworth Hospital staff and spotted a few of them wearing tiaras.

“I am really proud to get this status on my watch but it is not to do with me, it is the staff, the care they deliver every day. I am incredibly proud of them.

“People are very excited about the royal status and moving to the new hospital next year.

“The pioneering spirit sets Papworth Hospital apart.”

Professor John Wallwork, chairman at Papworth Hospital Foundation Trust, added: “As a surgeon who worked at Papworth for more than 30 years, I am thrilled to see the hospital get this recognition from The Queen.

“Papworth is a truly special place where we strive to deliver the treatments of tomorrow to the patients of today. We have big plans for our future on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and our new royal title will be a wonderful way to mark the next chapter in our story.”

Royal Papworth Hospital is one of the leading cardiothoracic hospitals in Europe, treating more than 100,000 patients each year from across the UK. Founded as a tuberculosis colony in 1918, the hospital became famous for pioneering a series of firsts in heart and lung medicine, including the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979 and the world’s first successful heart, lung and liver transplant in 1986.

And in 2015, Papworth doctors were the first in Europe to successfully perform a heart transplant using a non-beating heart. The hospital has so far carried out 31 transplants using non-beating donor hearts, increasing its heart transplant rate by over a third.

In September 2018, the hospital will move to a new building on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Designed by clinicians to meet the needs of today’s patients, the facility will be the most advanced cardiothoracic hospital in Europe.

The hospital’s new location – alongside Cambridge University Hospitals, the University of Cambridge, AstraZeneca, the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and Abcam – will bring huge benefits in terms of patient care and innovation.

Royal Papworth Hospital has received the support of the British royal family throughout its history and has counted Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester as patron since 2003.

Most recently, in June 2016, Prince Harry invited a team from Papworth to Kensington Palace to collect a Invictus Games gold medal donated by US soldier and athlete Elizabeth Marks, who credits the hospital with saving her life.

The trust will now begin a formal process to rename the hospital Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

A ceremony to officially mark the change in name will take place next year as part of the hospital’s centenary celebrations.

Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire, said she was delighted with the recognition.

She said: “Offering first-class care while also undertaking pioneering and ground-breaking work, it is fitting that this honour should come during the hospital’s centenary year and as they make the move to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

“This recognition is further evidence of why South Cambridgeshire is regarded as a world-renowned centre of scientific excellence.”


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