Kent Institute of Medicine & Surgery (KIMS), the £95m state-of-the-art hospital which will transform acute and specialist health provision in the county, has been officially opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, during a visit to Maidstone.
The royal visit saw the independent, patient-focused, clinician-led hospital toured by the royal party, civic dignitaries and the team responsible for the making it all possible.
In a first for Kent, local patients will be able to avoid lengthy journeys to London for care as the new hospital will have one of the largest cardiology departments in the UK, and be the first and only institute in the county to carry out open-heart surgery.
Thanks to the clinical expertise of the hospital’s consultants, and in another first for Kent, KIMS will also make it possible for local neurosurgery patients to have their treatments carried out locally with the opening of the specialist department.
KIMS is the first – and only – tertiary care centre in Kent, providing high quality complex procedures and acute care in areas such as cardiology, cardiac surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, complex orthopaedics and surgical oncology.
Through the work of more than 300 clinical staff, KIMS will offer private healthcare services, as well as services to the NHS by agreement with local hospital trusts and NHS commissioning bodies, for patients across Kent, as well as East Sussex and south east London.
Jayne Cassidy, Chief Executive of KIMS, said: “It was an honour to meet His Royal Highness, and introduce him to many of our clinicians, staff and partners. We are delighted that he kindly agreed to officially open KIMS and mark what is the culmination of six years of hard work to deliver the vision of Dr Phyllis Holt and Franz Dickmann.
“The opening of KIMS marks a step change for Kent in delivering world-class healthcare locally. Today highlights how high level patient care can be provided by consultants and clinicians, and through collaboration with medical technology companies and education providers, in our case Canterbury Christ Church University.”
When it opens to patients in April, KIMS will offer 74 dedicated inpatient beds, including seven chemotherapy rooms, plus a further 20 day care beds, seven intensive therapy units beds and high dependency beds.
Dr Chris Thom, KIMS’ Medical Director, added: “Today is a day for thank you’s. Kent now has a hospital unlike any other thanks to the involvement of over 300 consultants, its management team, the innovation and medical technologies delivered by GE Healthcare.
“A big thank you must also go to DHA Planning, David Morley Architects and Vinci Construction, as well as to our local authority, Maidstone Borough Council, for their tireless support and hard work.”
GE Healthcare, which provided all the equipment at the hospital, from single surgical instruments to diagnostic imaging technology, has been in partnership with KIMS since 2006.
Karl Blight, GE Healthcare UK & Ireland General Manager, said: “GE has combined its innovative technology with a tailored funding model to meet the requirements of KIMS. This collaboration between our financing business, GE Capital, and GE Healthcare, helps to enable cutting edge healthcare for KIMS, which benefits its clinicians, hospital directors, and ultimately its patients.
“We have provided more than 50 medical technologies to KIMS across diagnostics critical care, cardiology and ultrasound.”
KIMS construction partners VINCI Construction UK Ltd constructed the new hospital hospital on time and within budget in less than two years.
Dan Hollis, Regional Commercial Manager for VINCI Construction UK Ltd, said: “Our entire team are immensely proud to have been involved in such prestigious and important project which will immeasurably improve the healthcare for the people of Kent and the South-East. From day one this project has been a team effort and we are delighted that our endeavours locally have got KIMS off to the best possible start as they look forward to welcoming their first patients.”
During the construction programme, VINCI Construction UK commitment to recruiting locally, saw nearly 50 per cent of the 2,000 people working on the project live within 20 miles of the site. The company also sub-contracted nearly £32 million of work with businesses within 45 miles of KIMS.
KIMS is located on a seven acre site near junction 7 of the M20, in Maidstone.
The new hospital is on land adjacent to the proposed Maidstone Medical Campus, which includes plans to create a neurological rehabilitation and care centre, alongside a specialist paediatrics unit, a specialist women’s health unit, and research laboratories providing a central facility for use by Kent hospitals.
A Medical Training Centre with graduate and post-graduate teaching facilities for doctors and nurses, plus student accommodation, in conjunction with leading universities; research and development facilities, are also included within the campus’ development plans.