14 May - On Thursday, 22 May 2008 a brand new centre that will treat some of the country’s sickest children will officially open its doors at King’s College Hospital.
The new facility - known as the Thomas Cook Children’s Critical Care Centre - was made possible thanks to generous donations from travel company Thomas Cook and The Variety Club Children’s Charity.
Dr David McCormick, Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Director for Children’s Services at King’s, Manny Fontenla -Novoa, Group Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Cook and Norman Kaphan, Chief Barker of The Variety Club Children’s Charity will be joined by staff and patients past and present to officially open the centre.
The 16-bed facility will take care of children admitted from across London and the South East, who have conditions ranging from liver failure, cystic fibrosis and neurosurgical problems and head injury to major trauma following serious accidents. The new centre forms part of an £8 million re-development of The Variety Club Children’s Hospital at King’s.
The Thomas Cook Children’s Critical Care Centre will help treat patients like Spencer and Nicole, who are both attending the opening. Their experiences show the difference doctors and nurses at King’s make to children’s lives every day:
· Spencer Aston was only 15 years old when he was involved in a serious car accident which left him in a coma. Spencer was treated at King’s and, with the help of hospital staff, learnt how to eat, talk and finally to walk again.
· Nicole Dryburgh, now aged 19, was diagnosed with a malignant tumour on her spine at the age of 11. Nicole underwent surgery at King’s to remove part of the tumour in 2000.
The Thomas Cook Children’s Critical Care Centre at King’s will help treat the 800 plus seriously ill children who come to King’s each year requiring intensive or high dependency paediatric care. Previously, the intensive care unit was in one location and children needing high dependence care were cared for on the appropriate specialist ward. The new centre brings them together under one roof meaning a better service for patients. The dedicated High Dependency Unit for children at King’s is one of the few such centres in the United Kingdom. Additional features of the new centre include new state of the art medical equipment, a dedicated counselling room for relatives, improved facilities for staff and a completely computerised patient management system. The new centre will also look after children that have undergone liver and bowel transplants.
Kathy Brennan, Senior Nurse on the new Thomas Cook Children’s Critical Care Centre at King’s, said:
“It can often be a difficult and worrying time for sick children and their families when they come to hospital. This is why we wanted patients and staff to have a say in how they wanted the new centre to look and feel. The end result is fantastic, and helps create a friendly and stress-free environment for children being treated and staff working on the unit’
Dr David McCormick, Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Director for Children’s Services at King’s, added:
“We are grateful for the tremendous support both Thomas Cook and The Variety Children’s Club have given to this project.The new centre will help staff at King’s provide the best possible care for patients like Spencer and Nicole, and their relatives. This is an exciting time for The Variety Club Children’s Hospital at King’s.“
Manny Fontenla -Novoa, Group Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Cook, added:
“I have been amazed and astounded at the dedication the Thomas Cook staff have put into raising these funds and the overall generosity of our customers. The new wards will help improve and save many children’s lives in the future and its opening today marks a very proud achievement in Thomas Cook’s history.“
Norman Kaphan, Chief Barker of The Variety Club Children’s Charity, said:
“For over 20 years Variety Club’s Children’s Hospital has supported sick children from the UK and worldwide. 40,000 children are treated at Variety Club Children’s Hospital every year. The new centre will make better use of ward space, improve facilities and equipment for patients and staff. It is thanks to the kind support of Thomas Cook and the fundraising dedication of their staff that Variety Club will continue to support sick children throughout the UK and beyond.“