Opening of £650m hospital welcomed


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The Independent Online

The new £650 million Royal London Hospital opened its doors for the first time today.

The hospital, based in Whitechapel, contains 110 wards that were previously housed in facilities dating back to the 18th century.

And for the first time, all its clinical teams are under one roof.

The 17-storey building covers an area equivalent to 40 football pitches and houses more than 3,000 staff and patients.

The hospital's trauma and emergency care changed the life of Esther Edmund-Allen who was at the opening today with maxillofacial trauma surgeon Simon Holmes, a specialist in diseases and injuries of the mouth, jaws and face .

Ms Edmund-Allen, an executive assistant from Chadwell Heath in Essex, had a motorbike accident in 2006 and underwent many operations at the Royal London before being signed off as a patient in December.

The 44-year-old mother-of-three suffered multiple fractures of her skull and jaw and was in a medically-induced coma for several days. The injuries left her barely recognisable to family and friends, although the treatment she received means there is scarcely any scarring on her face.

Ms Edmund-Allen said: "Obviously, on a professional level there was a huge amount of skill required as well as determination to get everything right for me.

"But above and beyond that, Simon's psychological support was outstanding, getting me to believe in myself and to believe that I would get back to normal."

Barts and the London NHS Trust consultant surgeon Mr Holmes said the new Royal London Hospital's "world-class facilities" would make it easier to treat the many complex trauma cases he sees every year.

"It's much easier to reassure a patient that you are going to rebuild their face to the highest standard if you have state-of-the-art operating theatres and a modern, spacious ward for them to recuperate in.

"At last we have fantastic facilities to reflect the excellent clinical work the hospital is renowned for."

Alongside the 11,000 boxes that have been moved, 52,000 pieces of new furniture and equipment were installed in the new hospital, along with more than 1,000 toilets.

More than 12,000 keys have been cut and 75,000 bed sheets, 28,000 towels and 3,000 new pillows have been delivered for the first patients.