The Duke of Cambridge to officially open £35m facility at Aintree University Hospital

Kensington Palace has announced that The Duke of Cambridge will visit Aintree University Hospital to formally open the new Urgent Care and Trauma Centre (UCAT) this month.

The £35m facility, which took four years to construct, is one of the most modern emergency centres in the country.

During his visit on Thursday 14th September The Duke will meet clinical staff from Aintree and its partner organisations, including the North West Air Ambulance. The Duke served as a pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance service from March 2015 until July this year. Prior to this he served for nearly five years as a helicopter pilot with the RAF’s Search and Rescue Force.

This will be followed by a plaque unveiling ceremony.

Dr Neil Goodwin, Chairman at Aintree University Hospital, said: “I am delighted that His Royal Highness will formally open our urgent care and trauma centre. What better way to pay tribute to the hard work of all those involved in the planning, construction and operation of the centre, which is making such a tremendous difference to some of the most seriously ill and injured people in our region.”

The new state-of-the-art two storey building, which contains the hospital’s Emergency Department, Major Trauma and Critical Care services, required careful planning to allow construction in and around the hospital without affecting services to patients.

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. The Cheshire and Merseyside Major Trauma Centre is one of a national network of 11 adult major trauma centres.

This 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 Major Trauma Centre teams treat some of the most seriously-ill patients and the department contains state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, including a dedicated CT scanner, which enables much quicker treatment for the most seriously injured patients.

Since the establishment of the service, survival rates and patient outcomes have increased to regularly be the best outside of London, where the major trauma model was introduced some time ago.

In addition to Major Trauma services, the UCAT centre contains a new Emergency Department (treating both major and minor conditions) and a pioneering Frailty Assessment Unit which helps elderly patients maintain their independence by avoiding unnecessary admission to hospital.

The final part of the UCAT centre, a £1m air ambulance helipad funded by the HELP Appeal, under the County Air Ambulance Trust charity, was completed in July 2017.

Before then, air ambulances had to land on the playing fields nearby the hospital, after which a road ambulance transferred patients to Aintree. This added up to half an hour to the journey but the new helipad in front of the Emergency Department means transfers take just a few minutes.

Facts and figures

  • Aintree employs more than 4,500 staff, with nearly 200 working within the UCAT centre
  • More than 70% of Aintree’s staff come from within a four-mile radius of the hospital
  • Twelve staff are required to receive and provide initial care and assessments for one major trauma patient – the team has received 1,490 patients in the last 12 months
  • Since becoming operational on Monday 3rd July, the helipad has received 21 patients by air ambulance (as of Tuesday 29th August)
  • The Emergency Department treats patients more than 80,000 times each year.