Published: 12:00, 02 April 2014 |
Updated: 11:03, 03 April 2014
Prince Richard, the grandson of George V and a cousin to The Queen, was in the County Town to open the new £90m Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery.
The private hospital near Newnham Court by junction 7 of the M20 was built by Vinci Construction in less than two years. It will eventually house 350 clinicians and will provide some specialist services for the NHS.
"The people of Kent will now know they will get the very best medical attention right here, instead of having to go to London..." - Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester
The Prince toured the hospital and was particularly interested in the MRI scanners, the operating theatres and the intensive care ward.
Afterwards, the Prince, who trained as an architect, praised the building as having exactly the right spaces for a very complex organisation.
He said: "You have the right building and the right facilities. The other side is the human team, which is excellent.
"The people of Kent will now know they will get the very best medical attention right here, instead of having to go to London."
The Prince, who arrived a fashionable 10 minutes late, stayed for well over an hour,
The hospital will take in its first out-patients on April 22, with the first operation a week later.
It will provide complex surgical care, day treatment, outpatient consultations and diagnostic imaging for a variety of clinical specialities.
These will include a specialist paediatrics unit and a specialist women’s health unit, including a new maternity birthing facility for Maidstone, and pathology laboratories providing a central facility for use by Kent hospitals.
KIMS will be supported by a medical campus, now under construction, on adjacent land.
Video: Duke officially opens hospital
Franz Dickmann, the KIMS president, said: “This is the culmination of a dream."
Cllr Malcolm Greer, Maidstone council's cabinet member for regeneration, said: "This will prove a life-changing event for Maidstone."
Earlier in the day the Prince visited Audley Mote House, a retirement village in Bearsted.
He planted a commemorative tree in front of Mote House to mark his visit.
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.