Ipswich Hospital launches £2.5m appeal to remodel children's department
PUBLISHED: 18:39 16 February 2018
Ipswich Hospital has launched a £2.5 million fundraising appeal for a new-look children's department that can stand the test of time amid soaring visitor numbers.
The unit at the Heath Road site was built in the 1960s but has not been renovated for around 30 years, and staff say they have outgrown the “tired” facilities.
The work will see the department, which is made up of the Bergholt inpatient ward, an outpatient area and a short stay assessment unit, completely remodelled and refurbished.
Patients and their families have been involved in drawing up the plans, which include transforming the outdoor and indoor play areas and creating separate entrances for the outpatients and inpatients.
The Bergholt ward will see significant changes, with the total number of beds increasing from 24 to 26 and more en-suite and side rooms added.
Children’s ward sister Hannah Page said there had been a 50% increase in “high dependency” patients since last winter. The revamped department will include two dedicated beds for these cases.
The department will be illustrated with a Suffolk farming and countryside theme, and leaders hope the project will be complete in the next five years.
Sarah Smith, children’s matron at the hospital, said: “The new-look department will significantly improve the facilities available to our staff and help them to continue meeting increasing demand for our services while maintaining their focus on delivering a gold standard of care for every single patient.”
Consultant paediatrician Lauren Filby said: “Parents often comment that the department looks old and tired, while many say it is difficult for them to find their way around. “Families also use the same entrance to access both the ward and the outpatient department, which can be very scary for a young child who is coming to a clinic as it can bring back memories of an earlier admission when they were away from home and unwell.
“The redevelopment will help address that while providing a much more child-friendly and welcoming environment for everyone.”
Parents Debbie and Darryl Streatfield currently struggle with a lack of disabled facilities at Ipswich Hospital for their seven-year-old daughter, Ava.
The renovation plans include dedicated wet rooms, an accessible Changing Places toilet and extra space in bays for equipment.
Mrs Streatfield, 35, said these changes would make a huge difference for Ava, who has cerebral palsy and is severely disabled following complications at birth.
She added: “We’ve been in and out of hospital with Ava her entire life, and during that time the department has not changed a bit.
“But the improvements which are planned will make life so much easier for us all, as well as giving Ava more opportunity to take part in activities while she is admitted.
“As a family we really welcome the plans – they are long overdue and will really bring the ward into the 21st century.”
May and Luke Mackay-Morris are regular visitors to the children’s department for their five-year-old, Forrest, who has cystic fibrosis.
While praising the care their son receives, the couple say the environment from which it is delivered could be improved.
Mrs Mackay-Morris, 34, said: “Staying physically active is really important for people with cystic fibrosis, but it is difficult for Forrest to get the exercise he needs when he is admitted as the garden isn’t really appropriate for him. We are really keen to see it upgraded and Forrest has even told us he wants to sell his toys to help pay for it as he’s desperate to be able to play in that outside space.
“Because of his illness, Forrest can’t access the playroom with the other children as he’s so prone to infection. I know the staff are planning multi-play break out areas as part of the refurbishment, which would be absolutely brilliant and would make such a difference.”