Chief Minister Howard Quayle attended the official reopening of the Hospice building after its £3.5 million refurbishment on Friday, despite having travelled to Northern Ireland for a summit the week prior.

While current regulations state that people who have recently been off island are not allowed to enter medical settings for ten days, the Cabinet Office said that it had asked the charity for permission to attend.

The Hospice said that it had done a risk assessment and organised measures to protect patients and care staff.

The government said the event was held in a ’separate area away from active care settings’.

Mr Quayle appeared in the indoor crowd to listen to the speeches, wearing a tartan-patterned face mask.

In the Hospice, the central reception area has been completely redone, along with the Rebecca House (children’s) wing.

Improvements include new bedrooms, a children’s messy area and larger ’dream room’ for play, which is more accessible to patients in beds, new in-patient reception doors, therapy spaces, apartments for families, a canopy over the in-patient entrance, and patio doors in some bedrooms to access the garden.

The Hospice had planned to finish refurbishments in May, but this was delayed because of the pandemic.

Hospice Isle of Man chief executive Anne Mills described the Braddan building as ’an exceptional facility, and probably one of the best Hospices in the UK.’

The facilities have total capacity for 10 patients.

Also in attendance was Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney, who read out a letter of congratulations which had been sent by Princess Anne.

A feature on the new hospice facilities will be in this week’s Manx Independent.