The visit was to celebrate the achievements of Barts Heritage, the organisation established to rescue the historic buildings at St Bartholomew’s.
Nearing their £9m appeal target for their Sharing Historic Barts project, Barts Heritage can now begin the restoration of our Grade I-listed North Wing, which includes the Great Hall and Hogarth Stair, from 2023 – our birthday year.
The project will see the buildings opened to the public and includes a number of heritage-inspired wellbeing activities for the patients, staff and the local community.
The King also spoke with some of the craftspeople involved in this one-of-a-kind restoration.
He spent the rest of his visit meeting staff and patients from across the hospital including cancer centre matron Raquel Villanueva who said: “I was very excited to meet His Majesty and share my experience of working for the NHS. I will have been at St Bartholomew’s hospital for 22 years this Saturday, and this has been one of the highlights of my career!”
Lead patient scheduler Ansar Miah said: “It was a privilege to meet His Majesty. My job has been a real challenge, but he assured me what a great job myself and my team are doing to clear the backlog of patients. I felt very honoured.”
Watch the video of the visit.
The King heard about our plans to mark our 900th anniversary next year, including our ambition to build a centre dedicated to breast surgery on our St Bartholomew’s site, supported by Barts Charity.
The new facility will bring surgical treatment at Barts Health for this cancer under one roof, reducing waiting times and boosting patient experiece.
He met with patient Nell Bhadresha, an advocate for the centre and survivor of triple negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease.
Nell said: “We need the breast cancer centre in east London where the density of women affected by this type of cancer is high, and surgery plays a vital role in the patient journey for people like me. I believe having all my treatment under one roof made the traumatic experience of having breast cancer so much more bearable.”
Barts Heritage chief executive Will Palin said the visit was “a wonderful moment for a landmark project”.
Chair of Barts Health Rt Hon Jacqui Smith said: “2023 promises to be a very special year for everyone at Barts Health and this is the perfect way to kick-start our celebrations.”
St Bartholomew’s is the UK’s oldest continuously working hospital and will celebrate its 900th birthday in 2023.
Images: Matthew Andrews