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Membership Newsletter January 2017

Alder Hey in the ParkThank you for reading our January 2017 newsletter.

Here you can read all the stories featured in your email.

Another Christmas cracker at Alder Hey!

It was another bumper Christmas here at Alder Hey, with lots of festive cheer thanks to our staff and visitors, intent on bringing a little winter sunshine to lift the spirits of our patients and their families during the season.

Christmas should always be a special time for children, and our staff do everything they can to make sure that it’s no different for our patients, many of whom are very poorly. Ward staff pull out all the stops to make sure their wards are adorned with Christmas decorations and on Christmas day morning, Father Christmas comes visiting with a sack full of presents for every patient. It’s not just our patients who are treated: we also try to ensure that our patients’ families have a special day too, with toys and gifts for siblings and vouchers for a free meal in our restaurant for parents and carers. For patients themselves, a traditional Christmas dinner is prepared by our ward-based chefs – complete with Christmas crackers!

Our annual Christmas lights switch-on just keeps getting better and better. This year it was made extra special by BBC Children’s TV being on site, broadcasting live from the hospital all day.

The day started with CBeebies broadcasting live ‘links’ between shows, and including a very special visit from superstar Mr Tumble! Later in the day CBeebies gave way to CBBC, featuring an especially remarkable live edition of Operation Ouch Hospital Takeover which included live broadcast of the Christmas lights switch-on by CBBC presenters and Operation Ouch’s presenters: twin Drs Chris and Xand Van Tulleken.

CBeebies and CBBC presenters kept themselves busy when they weren’t on air by visiting patients on wards, bringing a smile to the children and young people who had seen them on their TV screens just a few minutes before!

Throughout December Alder Hey welcomed a great number of visits which kept up the Christmas spirit, such as the players and staff from Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs, both of which came on their annual visit to the hospital.

Manager Ronald Koeman and Alder Hey Children’s Charity patron Leighton Baines, led Everton’s first team squad and coaching staff around Alder Hey where they spent time speaking and meeting families and staff as well as handing out gifts, posing for photographs and signing autographs.

Leighton Baines, official patron of Alder Hey Children’s Charity, who was making his ninth annual Christmas visit with the Club, said: “You speak to some of the parents and they say that the kids have been excited all morning and it’s given them a little boost. It can be difficult to understand why at times when people are struggling but that’s the power of football and the reach it has got. We take time out and if it cheers the kids up then it is worth it.

The day before Christmas Eve, it was the turn of Liverpool Football Club’s first team, spent an afternoon at Alder Hey. During the visit manager Jürgen Klopp, captain Jordan Henderson and the rest of the first-team squad visited kids in their wards, making the delights of patients and families, giving Christmas presents and bringing the festive mood to Alder Hey.

Thank you for Getting Your Stripes!

For third year in a row, Matalan has supported Alder Hey with its Christmas fundraising campaign. This year’s “Get Your Stripes” campaign offered customers the opportunity to celebrate the festive season in style with a range of white, red and green striped pyjamas available for children, grown-ups and even pets! The campaign, combined with previous years’ Alphabet Scarves and Beanies vs Bobbles campaigns, has managed to raise over £1.5 million in support of Alder Hey’s state of the art Research, Education and Innovation Centre; The Institute in the Park, where ground-breaking research into child healthcare and medicine takes place.

The Centre, which was officially opened in 2016, aims to enhance research into children’s medical conditions. Research supports the development of new and safe treatments for children and young people living with conditions such as arthritis, cancer or diabetes.
To celebrate the success of the stripes campaign, a PJ party was organised in the hospital, where patients and staff were encouraged to wear their stripes and show their support! The celebration culminated with a surprise live performance by popstar Alesha Dixon in the hospital atrium. Alesha, who was one of the celebrity supporters of the “Get Your Stripes” campaign, also brought a smile to kids and families visiting patients before joining the party with her superb performance.

Infection prevention

Robbie Williams caused a stir on New Year’s Eve when the singer was seen using hand sanitiser after holding audience members’ hands during a singalong of Auld Lang Syne live on BBC One. The video clip quickly went viral, drawing mixed reactions from fans on social media.

Irrespective of what you thought of Williams’ antics, it is well-known that some bacteria and viruses can pass between hands and that handwashing is an important way to reduce the risk of this happening. Nowhere is this more important than in hospital.

Dr Richard Cooke is Alder Hey’s Director of Infection Prevention and Control: “Children and young people can be at a higher risk of picking up an infection when they’re ill, when for various reasons the body’s natural defences might not be operating at their full capacity. If a child does pick up an infection during treatment then this can have very serious implications.

“Hand washing or using hand sanitiser is the best way of stopping infections passing from one person to another, be it from other patients, hospital staff or visitors. All of our staff have been trained in hand hygiene, and we expect that they will wash or gel their hands before and after having contact with patients. If you as a parent or carer aren’t sure that a staff member has cleaned

“It’s a little thing but hand washing is so important, so do make sure that your child washes their hands before meals and after using the toilet – and please make sure that you do the same. All of your child’s visitors – including you – should wash their hands before and after visiting. If all visitors do this, that’s a great help.”

Bacteria and viruses aren’t just passed on from person-to-person – they can come from toys, equipment and the environment too.

“It’s very important to us here at Alder Hey that our patients’ rooms, wards and departments are clean and tidy” says Dr Cooke. “As a parent or carer you can help us by telling us if you think that an area or piece of equipment isn’t clean enough. It would also be a very big help if you can keep your child’s room or bed area tidy and free from clutter so that our domestic staff are able to give it a good clean.”

Parents and carers also need to let us know if there’s a chance that their child has picked up an infectious disease prior to coming in. “If your child has been in contact with someone who is poorly with an infectious disease such as chickenpox, shingles or measles, or has developed a rash, then do let us know before you come in to Alder Hey. This will help us prevent diseases from spreading to other patients. Try to limit visits to other patients’ rooms, and especially if they are on other wards.”

Dr Cooke continues: “It’s also important to make sure that nobody coming in to visit is at risk of carrying an infectious disease. This includes patients’ brothers or sisters, and includes you too. If a visitor has been in contact with someone who has a disease like chickenpox, shingles or measles, then check with ward staff if it’s okay for them to visit. If they have symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting, a cough or a cold, then they should not visit – full stop.”

Dr Cooke concludes: “We routinely test patients for germs that are resistant to common antibiotics, such as MRSA and, if your child is found to be carrying any such germs, it will help us to treat them in an appropriate way.

“Making sure that your child is up-to-date with their vaccinations, and being able to talk to clinicians about your child’s vaccination history, is really important. We do offer some vaccinations to certain types of patient – for example, to those that are going to be with us for a long stay, or those adjudged to be of ‘at risk’ if, for instance, they have something like a pre-existing heart problem – but it’s a huge help if parents and carers can tell us about it. It allows us to make appropriate adjustments to our treatment so that we are better able to give your child the best possible care.”

Don’t just give up in 2017: Give.

It’s new year and many of us will be thinking about the year ahead. Maybe looking to cut down on drinking, eat healthier or join a gym?
However, NHS Blood and Transplant are asking the nation to consider that what you give could be more important than what you give up.

With less than 3% of the eligible population actively giving blood, we are asking you to make a resolution that makes you feel amazing and saves lives.

Just one hour of your time could save or improve the lives of up to three people.

NHS Blood and Transplant doesn’t have enough new donors coming forward to provide the right mix of blood to match patients’ needs and replace those who can’t donate any more. Help ensure that patients in the future have access to the blood they need, when they need it.

Do something amazing. Become a blood donor.

Register today at or call 0300 123 23 23 to find your nearest session.

You can also download the app by searching ‘NHS Give Blood’ in the app store.

Are you O Negative? Blood stocks for O Negative are critically low and we urgently need more donations!

If you are O Negative blood type please do consider donating. O Negative donors can attend a local session without an appointment at any time over the next few weeks.
Find your nearest session at

Our new year resolution is to support patients and staff in healthy eating

From 1 January, Alder Hey has removed drinks with added sugar, chocolate bars and crisps from NHS-run catering outlets in the hospital and has replaced them with alternative options containing less sugar and fat. This aims to build on progress the Trust has made since moving into the new ‘hospital in a park’ in updating the catering menus to make more fresh food and healthy options available to staff and families.

Executive Chef, Simon Warren said: “There are many factors that contribute to poor health and we know that food is one of them. Over the last year we have tried to improve availability of fresh options at a sustainable price. It has gone down well so we are introducing new options regularly to see what people think.”

Innovation award for surgeon Iain Hennessey

A consultant paediatric surgeon at Alder Hey has won a gold award for his pioneering leadership of innovation.

The Innovation Scout Programme Awards at the Innovation Hub at Alder Hey Hospital.

Mr Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director of Innovation at Alder Hey, was presented with the first gold award as an Innovation Scout, part of a network across the North West Coast region run by the Innovation Agency.

The Innovation Scouts are senior clinicians, academics and managers who actively promote and support innovation among their colleagues, from ward to Board level.

Mr Iain Hennessey leads an Innovation Team which is working with world leading companies and local small businesses, using gaming technology, sensors and cognitive computing to predict the progression of illnesses and plan individualised treatments.

Applying tiny sensors to the skin will avoid the use of needles to take blood samples; sensors will also wirelessly transmit biological information, avoiding the need to attach wires to a young patient. Alder Hey is pioneering the use of 3D printed body organs which can be taken into operating theatres, to help guide surgery; and they are helping to develop gaming and the use of artificial intelligence to communicate, entertain and reduce stress in child patients.

Mr Hennessey said: “Our aim is to be the world’s best hospital for children, using all the latest technology to take the fear out of coming in for an operation or appointment and also to provide the best possible care.

“I am delighted to accept my Innovation Scout gold award – and I would like to pay tribute to the Innovation Agency who have given huge support to Alder Hey to enable us to realise our innovation ambitions.”

The awards were presented by Mike Gibney, Director for Organisation Development at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

Chancellor announces funding for Bereavement Support Centre at Alder Hey Hospital

Alder Hey Children’s Charity has been awarded £1.4m to build a new, bespoke Child Bereavement Centre as part of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, providing critical services to bereaved families who have suffered the loss of a child. The funding was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in his Autumn Statement.

The Alder Centre is dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of bereavement support services, tailored to the needs of those that have suffered the tragic loss of a child. The centre provides an emergency bereavement care service to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, for families in the immediate event of the death of a child, and also runs the National Child Death Helpline (NCDH) in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Professor Michael Brown, Chair of the Alder Hey Children’s Charity, said: “We are delighted with the wonderful and generous support from the Chancellor of the Exchequer which will enable the hospital to rebuild the Alder Centre and thus continue its crucial and sensitive work. We are grateful for the outstanding support we have received in making this bid to the Treasury from our partner agencies and both local and national cross-party MPs.”

Antoinette Sandbach MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, said “I was delighted to be the advocate in Westminster for the important work done by the Alder Centre, particularly its provision of bereavement care for parents in the North West, and it is great news the Centre will receive £1.4 million from the Government for its new building. I have worked hard with the Trustees of the Alder Hey Children’s Charity and this announcement is very welcome.”

The Alder Centre is not a mandatory NHS service and relies heavily on charitable funding; the service was originally established over 30 years ago by bereaved parents and concerned professionals and was initially run wholly by volunteers, all of whom had experienced the loss of a child themselves. This ethos still remains today.

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has invested in this highly-valued service by employing staff to work in partnership with the service and its many dedicated volunteers. Following the hospital’s move to new premises in October 2015, the Alder Centre was moved to temporary accommodation. The award of this funding now means that new, bespoke premises can be built to accommodate the Centre within walking distance of the hospital, providing privacy for those that it supports.

Alder Hey Children’s Charity compiled and submitted a bid for support of the new Alder Centre to HM Treasury’s LIBOR Grants programme earlier this year. Today’s announcement is the successful outcome of that bid.

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