£75,000 refurbish paediatric department opened at Harrogate District Hospital

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A £75,000 refurbishment to the Paediatric Outpatients ward, has been officially opened at Harrogate District Hospital.

Staff, patients, parents and fundraisers gathered for the official ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 22, to see how their hard work has transformed the facility.

The space has been completely redesigned to accommodate two new rooms, meaning 6,000 more children a year can be treated in the department.

Jennifer Kemp, Paediatrics Department Manager, said: "We've got a beautiful new weighing and heighting room and we've also got a massive new room where they can do all the bloods and all the various tests we do for the children, so we've gained two extra rooms.

"Two more rooms means more doctors, more nursing clinics, more children. We've got room for more specialist nurses, so we've got a new constipation clinic, we've got a wonderful new respiratory nurse, I do allergy testing for children, so it's just amazing, we can just see loads more children."

The major makeover has also seen the ward completely redecorated, with woodland-themed cartoon illustrations, and vital pieces of equipment installed.

Jennifer added: "We're very grateful and absolutely amazed that people have done this for us. We can't do anything alone, we have to rely on these people to raise money.

"They've raised money for specialist scales, for children with disabilities. They've bought a NIOX machine which is something we use to diagnose respiratory illness in children, they've bought a sweat text box which is used to diagnose cystic fibrosis in children from birth."

Work to refurbish the department started in September last year, but the idea to help provide a better service in the paediatrics outpatient ward was born long before then.

At the official opening, special mention went to Alex Vere, from The Rainbow Fund, a Harrogate charity which has been instrumental throughout the fundraising process.

When Alex's daughter was a patient at the department, she realised how much the service was in need and decided to try and help.

Having set about networking with as many businesses and charities as possible, Harrogate business, Synergy Automotive, was one such organisation that agreed to do all it could to help.

Paul Parkinson, Managing Director of Synergy, said: "Alex absolutely clearly had a vision leading The Rainbow Fund, and they came along to talk to us.

"I've got children myself and my daughter spent some time in the department when she was about 18 months old.

"We had a wonderful experience but I was surprised that a quality town and a lovely place in North Yorkshire needed some help.

"When we started to look giving something back there were lots of worthy causes, but when I thought about our children, I didn't think anybody would have an axe to grind with us supporting our local children."

More than a dozen team members at Synergy completed the Yorkshire Warrior in a bid to raise funds for the cause, and their efforts generated enough for the business to purchase the new NIOX machine, which has pride of place in the new department.

Paul added: "The Yorkshire Warrior was really good fun and everybody got behind it and since then we've really appreciated the equipment that we've purchased with the money that has been raised and we can see the value and the benefit that it is bringing to the children.

"One of the pieces of kit will save 1,500 children a year having to go to Sheffield to have their symptoms checked to see if they have really got asthma, so they'll be able to be treated locally. It's great."

Many other businesses and organisations were also recognised for their incredible input including Harrogate design business, Studio One, who designed all of the illustrations and wall art, Variety the Children’s Charity, Altro, The White Stuff Foundation and individual donors.