Alder Hey Awarded Freedom Of The City
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has been given Freedom of the City in recognition of its treatment and care of children and young people for over a century.
During a special celebration at the Town Hall, the City of Liverpool acknowledged Alder Hey’s contribution in making a huge difference to the lives of people in Liverpool and beyond. The hospital, which treats over 275,000 children and young people every year, has a 100 year history of delivering pioneering healthcare.
Staff from across the hospital joined Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Erica Kemp, Councillor Wendy Simon and Ged Fitzgerald (Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council) for the ceremony which also included speeches from past and present hospital staff, Ian Quinlan (Vice Chair of Alder Hey) and Louise Shepherd (Chief Executive of Alder Hey).
Throughout its prestigious history Alder Hey has been at the forefront of paediatric care and has become known for a number of famous firsts. It was the first hospital to test penicillin, saving a child from pneumonia in 1914 and the first to establish a neonatal surgical unit in the UK. Other ‘firsts’ include curing the most commonly encountered congenital heart defect and pioneering various splints and orthopaedic appliances.
As one of only four stand-alone children’s hospitals in the country, Alder Hey is a centre of excellence for cancer, heart, spinal and brain disease and a designated national centre for head and face surgery, trauma and epilepsy surgery. The hospital is also a leading centre for paediatric research and has a reputation for research excellence in infection, inflammatory disease, oncology, international child health and developing safer medicines for children.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Erica Kemp CBE said: “I am delighted to be honouring such a worthy recipient. The staff in Alder Hey work tirelessly to provide the best possible care to children in a professional, caring and friendly manner. They have made such an enormous difference to the lives of so many families, not just in Liverpool but across the UK.
“As with so many grateful families I would like to extend my personal appreciation to the staff at the Trust. In January 2014, our grandson Jonah was born seriously ill. He was operated on a few days later and I am now delighted to say he is a wonderful, happy and healthy boy. My admiration for the treatment and care at Alder Hey is limitless as is my thanks and appreciation to all the staff who work there, past and present. They are truly deserving of this honour.”
Alder Hey is just months away from moving to new buildings next door to its current site. The new hospital Alder Hey in the Park will provide the perfect platform for Alder Hey as it aims to achieve its vision of becoming a world leader in children’s healthcare. Children have been central to the design of the new building and former patient Ellie Brogan, whose original picture inspired the architects who designed the new hospital, spoke during the ceremony. Richard Mathias, parent of Alder Hey patient James and Co-Chair of Alder Hey Children’s Charity Appeal Board closed the ceremony.
Sir David Henshaw, Chair of Alder Hey said: “Alder Hey plays a vital role in the health of children, not just in Liverpool but nationally and internationally and we are well known for clinical excellence and high quality care. However this would not be possible without the support we receive from local people. Our patients, along with their families and friends, contribute enormous amounts of time to help us develop and improve our services.
“They are also at the centre of our plans for the future, helping us design a new hospital and raise funds through the Alder Hey Children’s Charity, to make it one of the best in the world. Alongside a new Research and Education Centre, the new hospital will put Liverpool firmly on the map in terms of innovation, research and education, enhancing our partnerships with Liverpool City Council, our universities, commissioners and the wider community. Together we can really improve the lives of children in this country and beyond. On behalf of everyone at Alder Hey, I would like to thank Liverpool City Council for awarding us such an honour.”