Surgery at Alder Hey
“Being a member of the Cardiac Surgical Team is being part of a team that is dedicated, dynamic, professional and caring. But most importantly it is being part of a group of people who make a difference to some of the sickest children that come across the doorstep of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Alder Hey is a regional cardiac centre so we provide a full range of cardiac services including congenital heart surgery, ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) services, cardiac catheterisation and chest wall surgery. Cardiac theatre staff not only work in operating theatres but also support the Intensive Care Unit in emergency situations.
The new operating theatres lend themselves to a far better experience for our young visitors and their families; it is bright and inviting and keeps the clinical surroundings out of view from our patients as much as possible, whilst not compromising on safety.
Every member of the Cardiac Surgical Team play their part in the care that we give to the children who use our services. There is no denying that at times our job can be difficult and emotional, but the positives, rewards and being part of a team that genuinely does make a difference, truly is worthwhile.”
Louise and Sam Operating Department Practitioners, Paul Deputy Chief/ Lead ECMO Perfusionist
Simon, Clinical Director of Surgery, Cardiac, Anaesthesia and Critical Care Business Unit
I joined Alder Hey’s general surgery department as a Consultant in Paediatric Surgery and Urology in 2003. I had previously trained at Alder Hey and at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. I have wide clinical interests including a special interest in minimally invasive (laparoscopic surgery), neonatal surgery, hypospadias surgery, and the treatment of children with anorectal malformations and Hirschsprungs disease. I am also passionate about clinical research – in particular applying research from the laboratory in developing new forms of treatment. In 2015 I was named as one of the Commercial Clinical Investigators of the Year by the Department of Health.
As Clinical Director of the Surgery, Cardiac, Anaesthesia and Critical Care Business Unit I am responsible for Alder Hey’s provision of safe, high quality surgical, cardiac, anaesthetic, intensive care, theatre and high dependency services. I was heavily involved with the design of our new integrated theatres and critical care facilities in Alder Hey in the Park and am clear that the facilities available to us will help us attract the best specialists and offer us more opportunities to provide innovative and efficient services to all of our patients.
Although the new technology in the hospital provides Alder Hey with great opportunities to be a leading paediatric healthcare centre, the Trust’s greatest asset is the staff who work here. The support I receive whether on the wards, in clinics or in theatres is outstanding with patient centred care demonstrated by colleagues in all roles.
I am proud that staff are willing to challenge themselves so that we can continually improve outcomes for our patients. We have a clear culture of examining outcomes and learning lessons so that we offer the best possible services to the people in our care. The most recent CQC inspection examined surgery under the ‘safe’ domain and rated it as ‘good’; although pleased with the outcome we continue to challenge ourselves to be ‘excellent’.
I am looking forward to seeing surgical services flourish at Alder Hey over the next few years as we further embrace new technology in what is the most modern children’s hospital in Europe.
Fred – Operating Department Practitioner in Recovery
I qualified as a registered nurse in India in and came to England to work at Alder Hey in 2001. I was really keen to gain more experience and was placed in Recovery, an area I hadn’t worked in before. This was a great opportunity for me, and helped to develop my skills further. I absolutely love my job, I love working in recovery and I especially like the close patient interaction, the variety of specialities we offer and the different children we care for– from tiny babies to fully grown teenagers. No two days are ever the same. We are a close knit team and I am proud to say I work at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust.
Amina and Valerie, Domestic Staff, Carol, Deputy Facilities Manager
I am proud to manage the domestic staff here at Alder Hey, they play a vital role in patient safety by cleaning the hospital to a high standard, and keeping operating theatres free from infection. The service that our staff provide is respected by clinicians across hospital as a playing a vital part in keeping our patients safe and helping them recover.
Peter, Consultant Anaesthetist
What would the ‘ideal’ operating theatre look like? It would depend on what kind of work you are doing. For us working in the operating theatres at Alder Hey it means balancing safety, complexity, efficiency and a personalised service.
From the parents’ point of view, they want to be given a date and a time for an operation that doesn’t change, have confidence that even challenging surgery is ‘routine’ for us, know that we’ll be following all the protocols and guidelines to keep their baby safe but at the same time when they leave the anaesthetic room they want to feel that they’re in the hands of people who take care of them with the tenderness and compassion of a parent for their own. This is what we strive for at Alderhey. Challenging but rewarding. Stressful moments? Yes, but also the confidence of working with a team who are all dedicated, focused and working with you to achieve the outcome we’re all looking for.
Paul, Deputy Chief/Lead ECMO Perfusionist, Cardiac Team
I work in the cardiac team as Deputy Chief/ECMO Lead Perfusionist. This means that I am responsible for the machines that take over the work of the heart and lungs during open heart surgery, helping the surgeon operate safely.
Alder Hey is an ECMO surge centre for the UK and the perfusionist team and I are responsible for the ECMO machines that are used to rest or support a patient’s heart and/or lungs eg if a virus has affected the lungs, or a patient is waiting for a transplant. We have 3 ECMO machines, 2 of which have been provided by Alder Hey Children’s Charity so I am very grateful to all those people who have fundraised for us.
Rebecca Smith, Orthopaedic Scrub Practitioner
I have worked in theatres for 6 years, mainly working in orthopaedics. We’re a very close knit, hardworking team who value high patient care, team work and communication. We work very closely with our Consultants and there is an excellent working relationship between all members of the team. It’s a privilege to be part of a diverse multidisciplinary team, with professionals both inside and outside the Trust all working to achieve the best possible outcome for the children in our care.
Iain, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Director of Innovation
I have the best job in the world. As part of the general surgery team at Alder Hey I perform operations on babies from 300g in size with congenital problems, right up to 16 year old strapping rugby players. In addition to this I am also the Director of Innovation, responsible for finding and developing the healthcare technologies of the future.
Combining these two roles has allowed Alder Hey to be exposed to some of the latest and most exciting technological developments from our technology partners. We are working on transdermal sensors the size of postage stamps to artificial intelligence platforms run from computers the size of a house. Being able to shape the future of children’s healthcare in our new state of the art children’s hospital is an enormous honour and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will reveal.