Princess Royal meets health researchers, visits carers support project, and opens flagship training

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will spend today (Wednesday September 1) finding out how exciting new developments at Foresterhill are positioning north-east Scotland at the forefront of pioneering health research, innovative clinical training of health professionals, and the increasing support given to carers of all ages.

The Princess will visit the Foresterhill health campus in her roles as Patron of the medical research charity Tenovus Scotland, and founder of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

The Princess Royal will meet senior representatives and supporters of the medical charity Tenovus Scotland, together with scientists and clinicians funded by the charity to carry out pioneering research on blindness, asthma, stroke, osteoporosis and prostate cancer at the nearby Institute of Medical Sciences, Rowett Institute of Health and Nutrition, and Robert Gordon University. 

She will also formally open the £21 million Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare – the new training facility for medical students and healthcare staff at the heart of the Foresterhill health campus. The Princess will see students training on computer-controlled whole-body simulators, 3-D computer visualisations of parts of the body, and watch NHS trainers demonstrate techniques to help healthcare staff deal with patients who are violent or aggressive (photographs available).

Her Royal Highness will unveil a plaque in the Suttie Centre atrium before invited guests including the Lord and Lady Provost, Chairman and Chief Executive of NHS Grampian, Principal of the University of Aberdeen and senior academics of the College of Life Sciences and Medicine, clinical skills trainers and medical students who benefit daily from the Centre’s state-of-the-art technology and teaching methods.

The Princess will meet members of the Suttie project team including the architects Bennetts Associates and contractor Mansell Construction. The building has achieved the highest national rating of ‘excellent’ in the BREEAM scheme, which is the leading assessment method for the environmental performance of new buildings.

Also attending will be major individual and corporate donors who contributed to a hugely successful fundraising campaign, adding a total of £6 million to make the building not only fit for purpose but truly ‘best-in-class’. The Princess will meet Ian and Dorothy Suttie, whose generous donation named the building.

The Princess Royal will then visit the Carers Information Point, in the concourse of ARI, to meet senior representatives of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Voluntary Service Aberdeen, and supporters of the work of the Trust. The Carers Information Point offers advice on topics such as respite, employment, housing and contact details for other sources of help. It opened in summer 2008 and has proved to be a valuable resource for thousands of people across north-east Scotland.

Dr David Galloway, Chairman of Tenovus Scotland Grampian, said: “Our Patron has always shown a keen interest in the research projects that Tenovus Scotland has been able to support across Scotland.  The Princess Royal visited Aberdeen in 2007 and spent significant time with us to hear about the Grampian Committee’s contribution in promoting the studies of young researchers in the north-east of Scotland.  We have an interesting range of projects for her to review on Wednesday.”

Commenting on the opening of the Suttie Centre, University of Aberdeen Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Diamond said: “We are delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to this outstanding facility. There is a long record of excellence in professional medical education here at Aberdeen and this building is about making sure that that record of excellence continues in this century, and that we produce the talented doctors and health professionals we need today and tomorrow, and make Aberdeen the location of choice for ambitious students and the high quality staff we need to teach them.” 

Dr David Cameron, the Chairman of NHS Grampian, said: “It is an honour to welcome Her Royal Highness to the Suttie Centre, a joint venture between ourselves and the University of Aberdeen. This building is a tremendous facility and another excellent example of the strong and productive relationship NHS Grampian has with the University.”

Expressing his delight with the Suttie Centre, Ian Suttie said: “The infrastructure has been extremely well planned to meet all the targets, allowing the University and the medical profession to share facilities, in the perfect environment, to mutual advantage. When I was asked to contribute I was advised that the facility would be ‘best in class’ in the UK, and from all reports this has been achieved.”

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