Hospital needs £200k minimum in two years for new children’s ward
PUBLISHED: 17:32 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:32 05 March 2020
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
A hospital desperately trying to upgrade its out-of-date children’s ward has warned it needs to raise a minimum of more than £200,000 in two years to make the improvements happen.
Ipswich Hospital launched its Children's Appeal in February 2018 after realising its "drab and dated" young people's department was not fit for purpose in the 21st century.
While medical staff have been praised for their dedication and "exceptional" care, the hospital said the "layout of the ward is making it increasingly difficult for our staff to continue delivering high quality, compassionate care".
It plans to totally revamp the department by more than doubling the six existing clinic rooms, as well as adding specially dedicated spaces for diabetes, cystic fibrosis and physiotherapy.
The planned improvements would also include increasing the total number of beds from 24 to 26, alongside creating dedicated spaces for teenagers, more space for specialist equipment and multiple play areas to make hospital a more welcoming place for children.
But with NHS funidng stretched for several years, the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity needs to raise £2.5milion from generous members of the public to make it happen.
In February, the hospital's Children's Appeal reached a total of £293,383 by its second anniversary.
Caroline Bates, head of fundraising, said that was a "tremendous achievement" - but added: "We need to raise a minimum of £500,000 by 2022.
"We really hope with the community's support we can smash that target.
"Put simply, the more we can raise, the better the new children's department will be as we can fund a wide range of additions that would not be possible on the NHS budget alone."
'We simply need more space'
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Ipswich Hospital nursery nurse Suzanne George is one of those who has supported the appeal, working with friends and colleagues to raise £2,610.71 by organising activities such as a quiz, family fun day and bake sale.
She is also planning to continue the fundraising into 2020, with a barn dance on Friday, April 24 at Woodbridge Community Centre.
Having worked at Ipswich Hospital for 10 years, Ms George said she sees first-hand how urgently the Children's Department - which gets more than 35,000 visits a year - needs to be re-developed and brought into the 21st century every time she comes to work.
"I must stress that the care provided to children and their families and carers is exceptional despite the environment," she said.
"We simply need more space, more practical space that is fit for purpose.
"Our communities are growing and so are the number of children we look after.
"We have a fantastic caring professional team and I'm proud to be part of it and if more people were able to raise a small amount, together we will make such a difference."
General manager for children's services, Samantha Burrows, said: "We simply need more people like Suzanne.
"She's so committed to The Children's Appeal and really has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
"All our staff give an outstanding level of care, but now is the time to take action and help us create the equivalent environment for our patients, their families and our staff.
"We need the support of our local businesses and community to help us and give the young people and their families of East Suffolk the facilities they deserve."
Major donations to the Children's Appeal include a legacy of nearly £150,000 from the estate of Eric Vanlint, who was a Suffolk poet and advocate for children's charities.
A brochure produced by the hospital for the appeal also said: "These facilities were built in the 1960s and refurbished in the mid-80s, but have remained largely unchanged since - despite large rises in demand for our services."
Donate to the Children's Appeal by clicking here. www.colchesteripswichcharity.org.uk/childrensappeal