Duchess 'inspired' by Al Jalila hospital as it signs agreement with UK hospital

Dubai's Al Jalila Speciality Hospital, the first specialised paediatric hospital in the UAE, today signed a collaboration agreement with the Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trist in the British city of Liverpool, which runs one of Europe's largest and most established paediatric institutions.

The signing ceremony this afternoon was witnessed by the Duchess of Cornwall, wife of HRH Prince Charles, and Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, the wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and the chairperson of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority.

According to press reports from British reporters who accompanied the Duchess on her tour, she described the facility as 'brilliant' and said that she had been 'amazed' and 'inspired' during her visit The Al Jalila hospital, which opened recently, was the brainchild of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who announced in 2008 that the 200-bed hospital would be built as a gift to celebrate the first birthday of his daughter, Sheikha Al Jalila. It can cope with patients from birth up to the age of 16.

Accompanied by Princess Haya, the Duchess was given a tour of the hospital, meeting some of the patients and inspecting facilities. She also spoke to parents and nurses.

In a statement after the signing of the agreement, Princess Haya said, "We are delighted to have teamed up with Alder Hey Children's, a world-class hospital with a long history of providing excellent care for children."

"This partnership allows us to establish a wide range of collaborations which will improve the care of children in the UAE. Our immediate priority to accelerate the establishment of Al Jalila Children's is enhanced by this collaboration, as Alder Hey, with its extensive knowledge and expertise in running a long established hospital with multiple specialist services, will be able to assist us through sharing of knowledge, specialist best practice and initiatives. We see this as the start of a long-term sharing of knowledge and resources agreement that will improve clinical services, enhance education and research not just for children in the UAE but worldwide. By combining our philanthropic efforts, the UK and UAE can further support research that will have far reaching benefits," she added.

The agreement follows an extensive search by Al Jalila for a suitable partner, with whom am official international affiliation agreement could be signed. A statement issued after the signing said that: " Following a comprehensive search and after discussions with many reputed institutions, Alder Hey was identified as the ideal partner for affiliation with Al Jalila Children's."

"The two organisations have the shared vision and capability of creating a healthier future for children and young people worldwide," the statement said..

"The desire to deliver the highest quality care in outstanding facilities, with continuous improvements made through medical education, innovation, and clinical research is prominent in both institutions."

Having recently opened a brand new world-class hospital facility of comparable size to Al Jalila Children's, Alder Hey will also be able to provide guidance on how best to deal with teething problems often encountered when opening any new facility. Children requiring very specialised treatments not currently available in the UAE, such as complex neurosurgery and neuro-oncology, will now benefit from being able to access those treatments at Alder Hey Children's in a seamless manner.

As part of this collaboration, Al Jalila Children's will aim to establish dedicated education programmes for health professionals, providing valuable training that will develop the next generation of paediatric specialists and services in the UAE. As our partner, Alder Hey will have access to a variety of patients with rare diseases which will support their research programmes, thus creating the potential for future joint treatment programmes.

Sir David Henshaw, Chairman of the Alder Hey Trust, said in a statement that the new agreement "is of great mutual benefit to Alder Hey and Al Jalila.We feel a strong obligation to share our experience in order to grow the availability of specialist health services that children need all around the world. Increasingly medicine is global and we wish to be an active participant in the global paediatric community by co-creating new programmes of research, training and education that will benefit our NHS teams in the United Kingdom. We highly value the collaboration between our teams."

The Al Jalila hospital also has an agreement with the world-famous Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

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