The Princess Royal opens new Diagnostic Centre at Royal Brompton

A ‘world leading’ heart and lung centre has been officially opened by the Princess Royal (on Thursday 12 May) after being built in the midst of a global pandemic.

The Diagnostic Centre at Royal Brompton Hospital provides the very latest in imaging technology to help diagnose cases of heart and lung disease.

Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the £50m centre and met staff who helped complete the project on time and under budget. She heard how the project has transformed patient care by providing all the services they need under one roof, in a calm and peaceful environment. 

HRH Visit

Specially commissioned artwork and light installations help patients feel more relaxed and at ease in waiting areas, corridors and treatment rooms.

Baroness Sally Morgan, Deputy Chair at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “I want to thank the dedicated staff who have worked so hard to deliver this fantastic building – something they achieved during a global pandemic. It was lovely to have that recognised with The Princess Royal joining us to mark this special occasion.

“We now have the very latest in diagnostic technology, needed for a world leading heart and lung centre like this, led by some of the world’s most renowned clinicians in the field.

“Providing a more effective, purpose-built service is helping with our plans for reducing waiting lists both here and across the wider NHS.”

Professor Dudley Pennell, Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Unit Director at Royal Brompton, said: “There were moments when it felt like steering a juggernaut through difficult times so I’m tremendously proud of what our teams came together to achieve.

“The new Diagnostic Centre is fitted with some of the most advanced clinical MRI scanners in the world  – helping to increase diagnostic capabilities, reduce scanning times and improve overall patient experience. Having this wonderful facility also means we can enhance research, education and training programmes for staff.”

Built by Kier and designed by architects Murphy Philipps, the new Diagnostic Centre has four floors – two above and two below ground level. It houses the:

  • cardiac MRI service (one of the leaders in its field in Europe)
  • echocardiography service
  • cardiac and lung cancer radiology service
  • interventional bronchoscopy service (one of the most advanced of its type in the UK).

Planning for the Diagnostic Centre project began in 2018 and construction started in January 2020 – just before the pandemic struck.

Excavating the ground took three months, with up to 50 lorries transporting the total equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools of material from the site – to form the upper and lower basement levels of the centre.

Approximately 7,200 tonnes of concrete were used – almost equalling the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

The centre has been open to patients since January this year.

The Princess Royal also met nurses from Royal Brompton Hospital to help mark International Nurses Day.