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Alder Hey In The Park Designed By Children For Children

Young patients took their first steps into the brand new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on Thursday 1st October 2015. On the day before the hospital begins a five day move into its new home, young fundraisers for Alder Hey Children’s Charity were given an exclusive tour by young people who helped design the new £250m state-of-the-art facility.

As one of Europe’s biggest and busiest children’s hospitals, Alder Hey treats around 275,000 patients each year. The new ‘Alder Hey in the Park’ will feature a uniquely designed hospital alongside a dedicated children’s research and innovation facility, creating a leading-edge centre for children’s healthcare and research.

Alder Hey in the ParkInspired by children and young people, the new Alder Hey in the Park will provide a world class healing environment for thousands of patients from across the UK. It will have 270 beds, including 48 critical care beds for patients in Intensive Care, High Dependency and Burns, together with 16 digitally enhanced operating theatres. The majority of children and their families will have their own room with en-suite facilities and park views from their bedroom window; while each ward will have its own kitchen providing patients with freshly cooked food to order.

Alongside the new hospital, Alder Hey has also built an innovative Research and Education Centre. The new facility will place Alder Hey and Liverpool as a national and international leader in the development of safer and more effective medicines for children and young people. The new facility will allow researchers and clinicians to work with industry to develop safer, better medicines and therapies for children to use in the NHS and throughout the world.

Louise Shepherd, Chief Executive of Alder Hey said: “From the beginning we have strived to create a world-class healing environment that will benefit children and young people from across the UK and throughout the world. Our new ‘Alder Hey in the Park’ has been designed to meet the expectations of patients who wanted to be looked after in a state of the art facility that was fun, helped them recover quickly and most importantly didn’t look like a hospital. This was a once in a life time opportunity to create something really special for our patients, families and staff; a dedicated healthcare facility providing the very best treatment and care to thousands of children and young people.”

Children and young people have been involved in designing the new hospital since an initial consultation back in 2009, where almost 1000 patients drew pictures and shared their views on what their new hospital should look like. Made up of current and former patients aged 10-22, the Children and Young People’s Design Group have had their say throughout the design process on everything from the colour of the rooms, to the artwork displayed in the new hospital and what their wards should look like.

Sir David Henshaw, Chair of Alder Hey said: “This is a momentous time in Alder Hey’s renowned and prestigious history. We continue to be incredibly proud of the treatment we give to patients here at Alder Hey and we now have a facility to match the world class care we provide. Most importantly, the new Alder Hey in the Park has been designed for the 275,000 children and young people we look after each year and I can’t wait for them to see their new hospital!”

Eleanor Brogan, a member of the Children and Young People’s Design Group took part in the consultation back in 2009 and her picture was included in Alder Hey’s initial brief to architects BDP. She said: “I was a patient here when I was 14 years old and I wanted the new hospital to have open spaces, greenery and natural light. When I drew my picture seven years ago, I didn’t expect I would play such an important part in the design of the new Alder Hey. Since then I have been involved in many amazing design decisions and I’m really excited to show the facility to some of the patients who are going to benefit from this fantastic new hospital.”

Many people have supported the new hospital by fundraising for Alder Hey Children’s Charity with young ambassadors all helping to raise money for life-saving equipment, vital research and patient experience initiatives in the new Alder Hey.

13 year old Holly Kesteven is one of the young fundraising ambassadors who will see the completed hospital for the first time. She was rushed to Alder Hey for lifesaving emergency surgery after falling unwell last year. A scan had revealed she had a thalamic brain abscess, a rare condition that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Holly said: “I’m really excited to see what the hospital looks like. I’ve heard about some fun things including a chef on the ward and that you can play outside on the ward which is brilliant. My doctor also said he will have better equipment to help children like me get better.”

Ged Couser, Architect Director of BDP said: “The chance to build a new children’s hospital in a beautiful parkland setting is a fantastic opportunity. The Trust brief called for a unique paediatric environment that, together with adjacent Springfield Park, would form an integrated ‘children’s health park’. Its hilly, undulating profile makes the new building instantly recognizable, even from a distance: a striking identity that stands in deliberate contrast to the typical idea of a hospital.

“The experience of taking a child into hospital can be very stressful at times and we wanted to create a wonderful place filled with daylight, colour and views out to the landscape to make that experience as pleasant and positive as possible. The Trust already provide an amazingly high quality of care from their existing hospital and together with Laing O Rourke, the contractor for the project, we believe that we have created a truly world class new hospital that will benefit the patients, their families and the staff who care for them for years to come.

“We have worked closely with the Trust, their Children and Young People’s Design Group and their families as the design has progressed, to ensure that our vision for the project represented their own. As a  direct result we have created an environment where architecture, interior design, graphic design, landscape design and art, produced by the lead artist Lucy Casson, have all come together to create an amazing place, all underpinned by an efficient clinical plan.

“We are incredibly excited about the official opening and cannot wait to see the new Alder Hey Hospital full of people.”

Andy Thompson, Project Director at Laing O’Rourke added: “Today we hand-over a ground-breaking new hospital to the medical team and children who have been our partners in delivering this unique project. Over the past two and a half years a dedicated, talented Laing O’Rourke project team has worked together with Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, the Trust project team, our partners in the Acorn consortium, the Young People’s Design Group and the local community to create a truly outstanding building in the quickest time on record in the healthcare sector. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved together and excited to have been part of this once in a generation opportunity to transform healthcare for the inspirational young people who use this hospital.”

Europe’s only hospital in a park, the unique design of Alder Hey in the Park will provide the best possible environment and experience for patients and their families. Six large, colourful and spacious wards with outdoor play areas have been specifically designed to benefit patient’s needs. There will be easy check in facilities for outpatients, patients will have improved access to specialist rehabilitation, while unique distraction, play and entertainment systems funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity will reduce anxiety and boredom during treatment. The new hospital will also feature charitably funded cutting-edge lifesaving equipment, including integrated operating theatres, an intra-operative 3T MRI scanner, CARTO system, Brain Lab navigation technology and an EOS imaging scanner.

Leading Cardiac Surgeon Rafael Guerrero said: “The new Alder Hey in the Park provides the perfect facility for delivering the very best treatments to children and young people. Within this world class environment, Alder Hey Children’s Charity has also funded leading edge technologies and equipment which will enable clinicians to provide the highest levels of quality care for our patients. For instance, having a 48 bed critical care area (one of the largest in the country and Europe) and having state-of-the art theatres will help surgeons like me to develop novel, effective and safer surgical techniques to improve outcomes and speed the recovery of patients. I’m incredibly proud to be working here at Alder Hey in this incredible hospital that I believe is truly at the forefront of children’s healthcare.”

Clare White, Alder Hey Children’s Charity said: “I would like to thank all our young ambassadors together with everyone who has donated to our appeal. Alder Hey Children’s Charity has already raised over £20m for the new Alder Hey, which means the hospital will feature lifesaving equipment, vital research and arts and play activities, many of which will be unique to Alder Hey. However we still need people to dig deep! We are still fundraising to provide child-friendly environments in wards and waiting areas and to support innovation and research in the new hospital. This will enable Alder Hey to continue to provide the most leading-edge solutions for children’s health care in the future.”

Alder Hey’s entire hospital will relocate to ‘Alder Hey in the Park’ during a five day move from 2nd to 6th October 2015. Following the hospital move, the old buildings will be demolished and replaced by parkland, leaving a world class facility sitting in the heart of Springfield Park, with views of green space or parkland from every patient’s window. Following the move, Alder Hey Children’s Charity and its young fundraising ambassadors will continue to raise vital funds to support the new hospital.

Your comments

  • I was taken into Alder Hey in the middle of an air raid. I had appendicitis. Unfortunately, I do not have happy memories; thin gruell in tin mugs is a vivid memory! Looks as if the present generation will have a much better, caring experience.

  • Wow! My grandson, Cameron has spent a lot of time in Alder Hey. The old building is a great hospital due to the way it is run and the wonderful staff! Put these into this fabulous new building and, yes, you have something quite unique! Wow!

  • My son spent many months in Alder Hey in 1990 onwards. The wonderful surgeons saved his life. Alder Hey was a world leader back then, and an amazing world leader today.

  • I go to Alder Hey every 6 months for a blood test because of my condition, hypothyroidism. I can’t wait to visit the new hospital in December-January time!

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