This summer marks 40 years since the Princess Grace Hospital first opened its doors to patients in Marylebone.
Opened in 1977 by Princess Grace of Monaco, the hospital, which is part of HCA Healthcare UK, is now one of the best equipped private hospitals in the capital.
Over the years many technologies have been pioneered at the facility. The Princess Grace was the first hospital to acquire a digital mammography machine and the first to develop a first class breast care clinic. It also pioneered the da Vinci robot, the first totally intuitive laparoscopic surgical robot.
Head Kitchen Porter Hassan El-Omari is the hospital’s longest serving employee and also marks four decades of service to the hospital this summer. Living just down the road in Paddington, Hassan has cycled to work every day for the past 40 years, and two of his children have since joined him working at the hospital.
Hassan El-Omari talks about his first memories of the hospital: “I remember starting work here all those years ago – it was incredibly busy with 100 patients coming through the doors every day. The canteen was open 24/7 then and I was working day and night shifts. I tried working in other hospitals but I knew the Princess Grace was for me, as it was busier than other places and there were always lots of jobs to do.”
Hassan has been right at the heart of the hospital as it’s changed and evolved over the years. He comments: “The hospital is very different from when I first started and few of the staff who worked with me then would recognise it today. The layout has changed so many times, and it’s a lot bigger now. More buildings and facilities have been added over the years as the hospital offered more services.”
Originally located between 42-52 Nottingham Place, the hospital has since taken over Devonshire Hospital, turning it into new consulting rooms and imaging facilities, allowing the hospital to develop a new focus on sports medicine. The hospital also expanded into 47 Nottingham place in 2007 to provide more space for consulting rooms, and opened the brand new London Digestive Centre on Welbeck Street in June.
However, none of these achievements could have been made possible without the dedication, passion and hard work of the staff past and present.
Hassan acknowledges the staff are one of the hospital’s greatest assets, saying: “Having the opportunity to work with the amazing people at the Princess Grace is the main reason I’ve stayed so long. My favourite times over the years have been when the staff have all had the opportunity to gather together and celebrate their hard work and achievements.”