Doctors and patients celebrated the opening of the newly rebuilt Finchley Memorial Hospital yesterday with HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

Prince Richard unveiled an official plaque at Granville Road hospital yesterday, surrounded by doctors, nurses, patients and Barnet Borough Council mayor Cllr Melvin Cohen.

The £28 million hospital, which began admitting patients last year, was built to replace the original 105-year-old building.

The royal visitor also officiated at the 100th anniversary ceremony of the old hospital in 2008.

He said: “It’s been a great pleasure to come back and see the transformation. Since I was here, you have gone up a gear, demolished the old building – however splendid it might have been when it was built – and created this new splendid hospital.

“I am pleased to see people thinking of a building as a solution to a problem – this building provides the flexibility that you now need.

“The official opening is an occasion to look back at the past and reflect that this is all a result of individuals who have played a part in a team.”

During the ceremony, he met with patients already using the hospital who shared their experiences.

Two time capsules were also buried in the grounds of the building to mark the occasion.

The Duke added: “This is the kind of building that, if you came into as a patient – a bit nervous and worried – you know it is a building in which your problems will be taken extremely seriously.”

“I wish the very best of luck to everybody that comes here, whether to work to provide that medical care or as a patient reassured that their needs are being well looked after.”

The hospital includes a 12-bed suite that is one of the first local community chemotherapy services in London.

Patients have access to a full range of diagnostic and therapy services, as well as rehabilitation care in the community.

It also provides a walk-in centre, community pharmacy, an outpatients department, podiatry, audiology and cardiology and musculoskeletal services.

The parkland around the new building has a health and fitness campus which includes a physiotherapy garden and football pitches.

Dr Sue Sumners, chairman of Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group and a local GP said:“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the opening of this new building with a royal visit.

“I am really pleased to welcome the Duke back to Finchley Memorial and to show him what this facility offers.

“While care has been taken to preserve the history of the site, the new Finchley Memorial Hospital is a glimpse of the future – high quality healthcare and community services in a pleasant and energy efficient building.

“Working with our partners locally, we are hopeful this new building will become a much used and important part of our local NHS services.”