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Staff at Aintree gave the Duke of Cambridge a right royal welcome as he kicked off a day of engagements in Merseyside by formally opening the hospital’s £35m Urgent Care and Trauma Centre today (Thursday 14th September).

The Duke toured the new centre, taking in the Emergency Department, Majors Unit, Major Trauma Unit, Resuscitation Bay and Acute Frailty Unit, meeting staff and volunteers from Aintree and its partner organisations, as well as speaking with patients.

Hundreds of people then gathered to watch His Royal Highness unveil a plaque in front of the emergency department before being presented with a posy of flowers, including sea holly, Merseyside’s county flower, by Helena Curry from Croxteth, who has notched up more than 1,650 hours volunteering in the hospital’s Emergency Department since 2011.

Watch highlights of the visit here:

Dr Neil Goodwin, Chairman at Aintree, said: “Our staff work incredibly hard and it was a great boost to welcome His Royal Highness to Aintree and showcase the incredible work that takes place here each day caring for some of the most seriously ill and injured people in our region. It was a fantastic day and one I’m sure our staff will remember fondly for years to come.”

The UCAT centre hosts the Cheshire and Merseyside Major Trauma Centre, which provides major trauma services to a catchment area of 2.3m residents in the North West and Isle of Man. It is the first collaborative single-site major trauma centre in the country, which sees Aintree’s clinical teams working with neuro specialists at The Walton Centre to provide seamless care for patients with head injuries.

The facility, which took four years to construct, is one of the most modern emergency centres in the country. Work finished in July on a £1m helipad, which was funded by the HELP Appeal, enabling quicker access for patients arriving by air ambulance.  

Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “This new helipad is already making a lifesaving difference to patients all over the region as it will ensure that our skilled crew can get patients the best treatment quickly, which ultimately improves chances of survival and reduces the risk of long-term injury.

“It was an honour to meet the Duke of Cambridge today. As he is familiar of the role we play, the visit enabled us to raise awareness of the North West Air Ambulance Charity and how the North West trauma network is coming together to make significant developments for patients across the region.”

A full gallery of images is available on Aintree's Facebook page here

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