New £23 million Thomas Cook Children’s Critical Care Centre to open at King’s College Hospital

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19 May 2008 - 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...

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.“


Notes to editors

Media are invited to attend the event from 2pm onwards. Please email chris.rolfe@kch.nhs.uk or telephone 020 3299 3006 if you plan to attend, or want to arrange interviews with patients or staff in advance.

The following are available for interview on or before May 22:

· Nicole Dryburgh (patient)

· Spencer Aston (patient)

· Kathy Brennan, Senior Nurse, Thomas Cook Critical Care Centre

· 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 Norman Kaphan, Chief Barker of The Variety Club Children’s Charity

Chris Rolfe, Corporate Communications, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Tel: 020 3299 3006, Fax: 020 3299 3207

e-mail: chris.rolfe@kch.nhs.uk

www.kch.nhs.uk

Simon Walsh, Head of Press & PR, The Variety Club Children’s Charity

Tel: 020 742 88134, Fax: 020 7428 8111, email: simon@varietyclub.org.uk

www.varietyclub.org.uk

Jo Hobson, Press Office, Thomas Cook Group plc

Tel: 01733 416 233, Mob: 07766 441184

e-mail: jo.hobson@thomascook.com

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust:

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, with over 5,000 staff providing around 700,000 patient contacts a year. King’s has a unique profile, with a full range of local hospital services for people in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark as well as specialist services to patients from further a field. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac and haemato-oncology. King’s also plays a key role in the training and education of medical, nursing and dental students with its academic partner, King’s College London. For more information, visit www.kch.nhs.uk

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are working together to create the UK's largest Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC). The AHSC will bring together the widest range of clinical and research expertise in the UK ““ strengths that will be used to drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. For more information, visit www.londonsahsc.org

Thomas Cook:

Thomas Cook UK & Ireland is the second largest leisure travel group in the UK with around 19,000 employees. The company operates a fleet of 42 aircraft, has a network of more than 800 high street stores (Thomas Cook and Going Places), leading websites (www.thomascook.com and www.airtours.co.uk), its own television channel Thomas Cook TV (Sky channel 645) and some of the world's favourite travel brands.

These brands include Airtours, Club 18-30, Bridge, Cresta, CruiseThomasCook, Direct Holidays, Flexibletrips, flythomascook.com, Latitude, Manos, Neilson, Panorama, Style Holidays, Sunset, Sunworld Holidays, Thomas Cook, Thomas Cook Signature, Thomas Cook Sport, Tradewinds, www.hotels4u.com and Elegant Resorts.

The company’s airline, Thomas Cook Airlines flies from various regional airports to destinations worldwide.

Thomas Cook offers a range of financial services, including foreign exchange at competitive rates, the Thomas Cook Credit Card in conjunction with Barclays Bank, the cash passport and a wide range of travel insurance policies. It is the only major travel company to be FSA regulated for its travel insurance, which is underwritten by AXA. The company also owns White Horse Insurance Ireland Ltd.

Thomas Cook also has a leading publishing division, and currently has more than 150 guidebooks and publications on offer.

Thomas Cook UK & Ireland is part of Thomas Cook Group plc (www.thomascookgroup.com).

The Variety Club Children’s Charity:

The Variety Club Children's Charity in the UK was established in 1949 and has helped more than one million children, 450 schools for disabled children, 500 youth clubs and 35 hospitals. It has also donated more than 3,000 items of special equipment, over 3,150 wheelchairs and 4,700 Sunshine Coaches. Since the first Sunshine Coach was presented in the UK 46 years ago, over 4,700 Sunshine Coaches have been provided, opening up a world of possibilities for children all over the UK. 101 coaches were provided throughout 2007.