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19 May 2022

Nicky Seargent escort The Duke around Heathlands.HRH Duke of Gloucester visited Heathlands on Tuesday at a celebratory event to mark the official opening of the building.

As part of the visit, The Duke was given a special tour of Frimley Health's intermediate care unit, meeting patients and talking to staff who are based at the facility. Greeted by a senior group of representatives from Bracknell Forest, Frimley CCG and our chief operating officer, Dan Bradbury, The Duke was escorted around the unit by Nicky Seargant, where he talked to several staff and patients. 

One patient, Joyce Irvine, 87, from North Ascot, had a special visit from the Duke when he visited her in her side room. “I was sitting in my chair chatting to my son who was visiting when he came in to see me. I was admitted to Heathlands to recover from a hip operation but also I fell and broke my wrist. The Duke asked me why I had a cast on my arm and what I had done. It was a pleasure to meet him and not something that happens every day!”.  

The event was organised by Bracknell Forest Council, which owns the three-storey building. Our 20-bed intermediate care unit takes up second floor and the lower two floors are used as a specialist dementia care facility ran by Windsar Care.  

The Duke toured all three floors before heading to the garden to unveil a special plaque and declare the building officially open. In a speech, The Duke described Heathlands as a splendid building and said he hoped more collaborative facilities for older people needing specialist care would be built in the future. 

Beth Spickett, Unit Manager for Heathlands said: “I was really touched by HRH’s speech at the opening ceremony and how he talked about his personal family experience of ageing, care and love. It is easy for us to get lost in the system pressures and forget that this is fundamentally what it is all about.” 

The Frimley Health intermediate care unit unit focuses on rehabilitation and supports patients coming out of Frimley Park, Wexham Park and, occasionally, the Royal Berkshire, Heathlands first opened its doors to patients at the end of March and the unit has since cared for 65 patients with an average length of stay of 8.5 days. 70% of those patients have been discharged to their usual place of residence or new care home.  

In the seven weeks since we’ve been open, we’ve had very positive feedback from patients, their relatives and carers. We’ve had high praise for the “excellent staff”, the “lovely environment”, the “amazing home-cooked food” and how the rehab-focused care has helped patients to progress more quickly and “give them back their independence”. 

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