Royalty in Leeds as Countess of Wessex officially opens new children's hospital heart unit

A member of the Royal family visited Leeds Children's Hospital today to officially open a new suite.

Her Royal Highness, Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Leeds Children's Hospital.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust welcomed Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex to open the Children’s MRI and Cardiac Hybrid Suite.

Funded by Leeds Cares and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, the new development has created a dedicated environment at the hospital for children’s cardiac surgery and neurosurgery, supporting the work of experts.

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Her Royal Highness, Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Leeds Children's Hospital.

Dr Yvette Oade, acting chief executive at the trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome HRH The Countess of Wessex to Leeds Children’s Hospital.

"The new facility will transform how we care for our children and ensure we can continue to provide the highest possible level of care for children from across Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond.

“I would like to thank our charity partners, Leeds Cares and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, for their commitment to fundraising for this new development which means so much to our staff and patients.”

The new theatre complex is designed to improve the care provided to patients with complex congenital heart disease, and those undergoing neurosurgery.

The cardiac hybrid theatre allows cardiac surgeons and cardiologists to perform surgery at the same time, which means the skills of both specialists can be employed together, reducing treatment time for patients.

The intra-operative MRI scanner allows scans to be done during neurological surgical procedures.

For example, surgeons will be able to see straight away how much of a brain tumour has been removed rather than scanning at a later date to discover that additional procedures may be required.

As a result, patients need fewer general anaesthetics, MRI scans and surgical procedures.

The new suite has been supported by donations from Leeds Cares and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund’s Keeping The Beat campaign.

Sharon Milner, CEO at Children’s Heart Surgery Fund said: “A huge thank you to our supporters for helping to fund the equipment in this Hybrid Suite.

“The generosity of those who contributed to the £500,000 Keeping the Beat target means poorly babies and children will benefit from this revolutionary facility for generations to come.”

David Welch, CEO, Leeds Cares added: “It was a real pleasure to introduce Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to some of our fundraisers and supporters.

"We’re extremely excited that the Children’s MRI and Cardiac Hybrid Suite is now officially open; this operating theatre is a fantastic example of what can be done when caring people come together to achieve something wonderful.

"Thanks to donations given to Leeds Cares, children and young people from across Yorkshire will continue to receive exceptional healthcare, right here at Leeds Children’s Hospital.”

The Countess is the wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of the Queen.