Princess Anne visits new community hospital

Princess Anne smiling as she stands next to a plaque which reads "Forest of Dean Community Hospital opened by HRH The Princess Royal on 7th June 2024"
The Princess Royal received a warm reception from residents, staff and patients as she unveiled a plaque [BBC]

Princess Anne has congratulated staff on the opening of a new community hospital that replaces two older hospitals in the area.

The Princess Royal toured the Forest of Dean Community Hospital, which fully opened last week, meeting staff and patients. She said she hoped it might serve as a model for other community hospitals.

The hospital in Cinderford offers 24 beds and "modern facilities", replacing The Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney and District Hospital.

One patient, 92-year-old Dennis, said he was "very pleased" the Princess spoke to him.

Princess Anne meeting Dennis, who is in a chair
Retired engineer Dennis, who lives just outside of the Forest with his wife, met Princess Anne [BBC]

"Oh, it was amazing," he said of his encounter with the Gloucestershire-based royal.

"She just seems like any other ordinary person, she just gets down to Earth and talks to you."

Dennis was full of praise for the new hospital, too, saying his experience there had been "very good".

"The staff are excellent, they're nicer than they need to be, I'm sure, and get on with their job very efficiently," he said.

'Well done'

Princess Anne praised staff on the opening of the new hospital.

"Thank you for the invitation, but can I just add my congratulations on what you've achieved here?" she said.

"These things are never easy, frankly. You may be very keen on the idea of having a new community hospital, but actually getting what you want and the right model takes a bit longer and you've got it right.

"So thank you for that, and I hope people will take keen interest in what you've achieved here and that they might want to follow through with a similar scheme, but well done."

Princess Anne bending down to speak to a little girl while holding flowers
Bella from Berry Hill presented the Princess with a posy of flowers [BBC]

Berry Hill resident Laura had a "proud moment" when her daughter, Bella, handed a posy to Princess Anne.

"She was really excited to come and do that today," Laura said.

"There was a bit of practising, she has been doing curtsies."

Bella has been unwell, often having to go to Bristol, Cheltenham and Gloucester for appointments.

"She's been off the ventilator for a while now, and she's still under a lot of consultants," Laura said.

"We've still got a lot of appointments, but hopefully some of them will now move here. It's literally just 10 minutes away."

Some of the services offered by the new hospital include a specialised dental service, phototherapy for skin conditions, a complex leg wound service, and a minor injuries unit.

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