press release
Published: 29 January 2020

The Countess of Wessex officially opens new facility at the University of Surrey

By Natasha Meredith

HRH The Countess of Wessex has today officially opened a new Health Sciences institute at the University of Surrey.

Credit: Jason Alden
Her Royal Highness Sophie Wessex watches paramedic demonstration at University of Surrey
The Countess of Wessex watches paramedic students taking part in immersive learning

The building is named after Kate Granger MBE, an NHS doctor who spearheaded the #hellomynameis campaign encouraging healthcare staff to establish a personal connection with patients to support better health outcomes and interactions. The new facility is home to the prestigious School of Health Sciences, which is at the forefront of educating the next generation of nurses, midwives, physicians’ associates and paramedics in the United Kingdom.  The School is also a vibrant centre for healthcare research.

As part of the official opening, The Countess toured the state-of-the-art facility and met with staff and students who spoke with her about their education. The Countess viewed a simulation suite that recreates clinical scenarios (for example treating patients in a busy acute care setting) that students may face in their careers and visited purpose-built wards replicating hospital situations where she saw student nurses and midwives refining their clinical care skills. Access to these new facilities will provide students with invaluable hands-on experience in preparation for their careers as healthcare professionals.

The University has also opened its doors to members of the public as part of the official opening, inviting them in for guided tours of the new facility.

The School of Health Sciences, which is consistently ranked as one of the top health sciences schools in the country, continues to go from strength to strength with 400 students graduating from its professional programmes each year. The school has strong relationships with a number of health care providers spread across a large area, and every semester hundreds of students embark on placements with organisations helping to deliver care for the community.

Professor Melaine Coward, Head of the School of Health Sciences, said: “It is a great privilege to welcome The Countess of Wessex here today to officially open the Kate Granger Building. The story of Kate and her campaign for more personal and compassionate treatment within the NHS will undoubtedly inspire our students to deliver the best possible care to patients and their families. We feel honoured that her husband Chris Pointon has permitted us to name the building after her.”

“It is important that we educate health care professionals who are equipped to deal with the challenges they will face during their careers. The state of the art hands-on experience this new facility provides, complemented by world class teaching, will help prepare them and make this a reality.”

Chris Pointon (widower of Dr Kate Granger), who has continued the #hellomynameis campaign, said: “I am incredibly proud to be here today with my parents to be a part of the official opening of the Kate Granger Building.

“We all know from our own personal experiences that the way health care professionals treat those in their care can make all the difference to their wellbeing and outlook; simple gestures of kindness and compassion along with an introduction make patients feel unique, valued and respected. Kate will be smiling down on us all today and will be wishing everyone well that studies in this new building.”

Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Surrey, said: “I would like to extend my gratitude to The Countess of Wessex for joining us today to officially open this impressive new facility. The Kate Granger Building is at the heart of our world-leading Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and a fitting tribute to Kate’s legacy of more personal and compassionate health care treatment.”

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Natasha Meredith
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Phone: +44 (0)1483 68

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