Top doctor says 'special bond' responsible for children's hospital charity progress

001 Lucy Chance

A top doctor has said the “special bond” created with patients, families and the community is behind a successful first year for Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity and its partners.

Dr Jason Barling, director of Southampton Children’s Hospital and a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine, said the support given to departments and teams “consistently overwhelmed staff” and was “instrumental” in improving services and facilities.

Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – part of Southampton Hospital Charity – was launched on 31 October last year to provide a dedicated fundraising arm for the children’s hospital and promote and work in partnership with existing groups, with more than £2 million raised in total.

During its first year, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust completed a £1.7 million refurbishment of regional cancer unit Piam Brown which will incorporate £550,000 in donations from past and present patients and their families, businesses, staff and members of the public.

It has also seen widespread support for the appeal to create a state-of-the-art children’s emergency and trauma department – which is being run in partnership with The Murray Parish Trust – with a total of £838,000 raised so far which will be matched by the government once it reaches the £1 million mark.

SHC_CHILDRENSMeanwhile, robbiesrally, a fund set up in memory of 10-year-old patient Robbie Keville, launched an outpatient rehabilitation service – Robbie’s Rehab – for young brain and spinal tumour patients in May and Friends of PICU, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, donated its third £148,000 retrieval ambulance in July.

Other developments included funding towards a pioneering project to improve the sleep environment in hospital, an inflatable MRI to help young patients overcome their fears about MRI scans and attendance at the British Transplant Games.

In addition, the Lahna Appeal, a fund set up in memory of five-month-old Lahna Tula Beatty, who died suddenly from a viral condition which led to heart failure, purchased a new device that allows clinicians to perform vital eye and brain tests on children at the bedside. 

“Clearly many individuals and groups have fundraised for our children’s hospital for a long time and achieved so much, but it has long been an ambition of our staff to establish a dedicated charity to bring our extremely valued fundraisers together,” explained Dr Barling.

“As we reflect on the year and some of the fantastic developments we’ve seen, it really shows what a special bond exists between our staff and patients, their families and friends and other members of the community.”

He added: “The role fundraising plays in developing our services and enabling us to perform to the highest levels cannot be underestimated and, in some cases, is instrumental in helping us progress.”

Richard Corden, director of Southampton Hospital Charity, said: “While many individuals and groups have raised funds for us for many years, as our children’s hospital continues to grow we felt it important to match our clinical progress with a dedicated charity arm to unite our fundraising community and provide an identity.

“We would like to thank everyone who has donated towards services at Southampton Children’s Hospital and it gives us great satisfaction to look back at some of the progress made as a result of such generosity and commitment.”

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Posted on Tuesday 31 October 2017