A NEW £25million county cancer treatment centre was given the royal seal of approval when HRH the Princess Royal opened its doors.
HRH Princess Anne visited the new Worcestershire Oncology Centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital on Monday (April 13) and unveiled plaques at the centre and at the new Meadow Birth Centre.
She was greeted by hospital workers, Worcester Mayor Coun Alan Amos and the children of Smileys Crèche.
HRH Princess Anne discussed the development with the staff and received daffodils from the excited youngsters before being shown around the new building.
The Voices for Health choir performed for the royal visitor before the chairman of Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust, Harry Turner, gave his speech.
He said: “This really is an inspiring and positive story about what the NHS can achieve.”
He added the new centre will offer the best care available for patients and has created 72 jobs.
HRH said: “I am very impressed with the speed at which you have achieved this result and the quality in what you have here.
“Sometimes we are slow to understand the difficulty of adding transport, to expect people who require the level of treatment that is needed to cope with travelling to other sites was a mixed blessing and in these terms it will make a huge difference.”
She praised the volunteers work and hoped others would follow.
“It is not a building that is easily missed and so there is no excuse not to come and lend a hand,” she added.
Jane Schofield, deputy chief operating officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This means treatment for patients close to home with state of the art technology in this architectural building.
“Some of them travel into Cheltenham or Wolverhampton for their treatment.
“The passion and involvement of our patient representatives means that we can now move forward increasing our services which is so absolutely fundamental.
“It has been an absolute privilege to work on this project and having Princess Anne here today is just the icing on the cake.”
Patient representative Paul Crawford has been involved with the project since the beginning as a former throat cancer sufferer who had to travel to Cheltenham for his treatment.
He told the Observer said: “As the treatment progresses you get weaker as they have to make you worse before they can make you better. I would travel 500 miles a week for a 20 minute session. “The treatment is hard and the travelling does not help in fact it is a hindrance.
“I am very proud but humble to have been a part of the project and I believe it will soon be the top cancer centre in the country.”
Princess Anne was also shown around the new Meadow Birth Centre which was due to open yesterday (Tuesday).
She met with the midwives that will be running the centre and signed their visitor book.
She again praised the staff for how quickly they developed unit and for giving women more options when having their children.