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HRH The Princess Royal officially opens the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences


NHS Lothian has welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to officially open the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) and Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) on Edinburgh BioQuarter.

Offering world-class facilities for both children and adults, the building first opened its doors in July 2020, with all services transferred to the new space by March 2021.

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People delivers local, regional and national services in some of the most modern and best-designed healthcare facilities in the world.

The children’s hospital is physically connected to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh meaning that paediatric care, specialist neonatal care, neurosciences and both Emergency Departments are now all on the same site. This reduces the need for emergency transfers between hospitals and ensures that clinical teams can share skills and expertise for the benefit of all patients.

The expert teams in Neuroscience are made up of a range of specialists, neurologists and neurosurgeons who treat people with disorders of the nervous system, such as problems affecting the brain and spinal cord, and the nerves and muscles in the rest of the body.

NHS Lothian’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences treats patients from the Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Forth Valley and Fife as well as Lothian. It covers a population of 1.6 million across these areas, while for some specialist services it covers the 2.8 million people living on the east side of Scotland.

During the visit, HRH The Princess Royal enjoyed a tour of some of the building, meeting with staff and patients. Within the Dalhousie Ward at RHCYP, she heard about the important role of the Play Teams have, in enabling children to be children even when in hospital, and enjoyed some magic tricks performed by Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity funded magician Tricky Ricky. Six-year-old patient Harper presented Her Royal Highness with a posy of flowers to thank her for visiting.

Within the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, HRH The Princess Royal learnt more about the investigative work of our Neurophysiology Department and observed an EMG, a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons). The Princess Royal met with staff from the Neurosurgery and Neurology Departments before visiting the Neurorehabilitation Ward, to learn more about the work of the Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists in supporting patients to return home, to re-learn basic tasks and to regain their confidence.

Calum Campbell, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian said:
“ We are delighted to have welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to officially open the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

“These healthcare facilities combine excellent architectural design, one of the UK’s largest Art and Therapeutic Design programmes and the latest clinical thinking and technology. Added to this are our amazing, dedicated and expert staff who deliver exceptional patient care day in, day out.

“The COVID pandemic may have delayed our official opening event, however we are delighted that on the 75th anniversary of the NHS, HRH The Princess Royal could join us, as together we celebrate.”

As well as welcoming HRH The Princess Royal to the hospital, a range of special activities, organised in collaboration with NHS Lothian’s charity partners, and designed to mark the official opening took place in the afternoon.

Activities included an indoor garden party with giant games, information stalls run by all charity partners including Kindred, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, NHS Lothian Charity and Ronald McDonald House, a special ‘Cuddle Station’ featuring regular Therapet doggy visitors and refreshments. Staff, patients and their families were invited to join the celebrations.