Her Majesty The Queen officially opens Royal Papworth Hospital and learns of life-saving work as she meets world class staff and speaks to patients
- Credit: Harry Rutter / ARCHANT
Her Majesty The Queen looked pretty in pink as she arrived in Cambridge this afternoon to officially open the new Royal Papworth Hospital.
Crowds gathered with bouquets of flowers waving Union Jack flags as dozens of local schoolchildren eagerly awaited her arrival at the main entrance.
Gracefully stepping out of the royal Bentley five minutes ahead of schedule, HM was greeted by HRH Duchess of Gloucester, who is patron of the hospital, and Lord Lieutenant Julie Spence.
They briefly chatted before The Queen turned to smile at the media and was then escorted inside as children shouted 'welcome to Papworth!'
"What a phenomenal visit for Her Majesty who was able to meet the world class staff and patients who had benefited from world class skills," LL Julie Spence said.
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The Queen was introduced to Professor John Wallwork CBE, chairman of Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Stephen Posey, chief executive, before making her way into the reception.
Since opening on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in May, more than 9,000 patients have been through the outpatients department and clinicians have carried out more than 2,000 procedures.
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Her visit to the world-leading heart and lung hospital followed the hospital receiving a royal title to become Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2017.
While inside, she walked past a mixture of staff from all levels and representatives from the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
She visited the Catheter Laboratory 1 on the first floor where non-surgical procedures are performed.
Professor Wallwork CBE presented a cardiology team who were at the forefront of procedures that have taken place today.
The team explained how the hospital had been designed to optimise care for patients suffering a heart attack and arriving at the hospital in an ambulance.
She then met a team from the respiratory at bronchoscopy room to talk about the UK's largest sleep centre before moving on to the critical care unit to see the size of the ward and technology involved.
Upon returning to the ground floor of the hospital, Professor John Wallwork CBE spoke about the importance of the new hospital and the benefits it will bring to patients.
The Queen then unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the new hospital.
Children from primary schools Papworth Everard, Stukeley Meadows and Cambridge could not contain their excitement as they waited by the main doors for her second appearance.
Larrisa Wright, from Cambridge, had come with her friend Ben and six-year-old daughter Lucy.
The 39-year-old said: "We thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to come down and see her.
"She looks so pretty in pink and seems to be a lot shorter in real life.
"Lucy wanted to bring a flag from a garden party to wave for her today and I think she looked across at us when she walked in."
The Queen paused for a moment to take in the jubilant crowds outside of the hospital as they clapped and cheered.
Martin Jones, from Swaffham Bulbeck, is a patient advisor working alongside the hospital.
He said: "This is very special for us, we are so proud to see The Queen and I'm sure she was impressed to find out about all the amazing work that takes place here."
HM walked over to collect a small bouquet of flowers and a hand-coloured Union Jack flag from three child patients waiting besides the royal car.
Elegantly smiling, she said her goodbyes to dignitaries and departed from the site with a royal wave to passersby out of the window.
Stephen Posey, chief executive at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our move to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus was an incredibly complex project which was successfully delivered through hard work, dedication and amazing team work.
"In less than three weeks, we transferred the services and equipment of a world class hospital to our new home and most importantly ensured our patients were safe and comfortable throughout the move.
"The visit of Her Majesty was a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we have achieved."
Earlier this morning she was shown round the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), before stopping for lunch at Queens' College.