Major fundraising appeal launched to help treat more critically ill children
A major fundraising appeal is being launched today to help expand and improve the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
The ‘St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal’, led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC, is looking to raise at least £2 million towards a £10 million project to create a bigger, state-of-the-art facility. The remainder of the costs are to be funded by the Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.
Actress and writer Fay Ripley, whose niece was treated at St Mary’s Children’s Intensive Care Unit, is supporting the campaign.
Every year, around 400 patients are cared for in the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s but it also turns away hundreds more critically ill children because it does not have enough beds. This means children sometimes have to travel as far afield as Birmingham for treatment. In 2014, the unit had to turn away 233 children, more than half the number admitted.
The redeveloped unit will have 15 beds, almost doubling the current number, allowing more than 200 extra children to be cared for each year. There will also be new equipment, a dedicated parents’ room and a private room allowing space for doctors and nurses to provide emotional support and care to families whose children are very seriously ill.
Consultant Dr Parviz Habibi set up the St Mary’s Children’s Intensive Care Unit in 1992 with just one bed, one nurse and one consultant. Today, the eight-bedded unit treats a range of medical, surgical and trauma patients. It is a world leader in the understanding and treatment of serious infections in children including meningitis and septicaemia, as well as specialising in other life-threatening conditions such as seizures, asthma, sickle cell disease, severe injuries and helping children recover after major surgery.
Dr Parviz Habibi said: “Today, we take a big step towards securing bigger and better facilities for our young patients so that they match the high quality of care we provide as staff.
“We hope as many people as possible will support our appeal to allow us to care for even more children.”
Around 7,000 children, from newborn to 18 years old, have been treated at St Mary’s Hospital Children’s Intensive Care Unit since it opened. Patients have come from all over the country including as far afield as Devon, Jersey and Northern Ireland. However, the once modern facility has aged and staff and patients are now in desperate need of more space, more beds and up-to-date facilities.
Actress and writer Fay Ripley said: “My niece is a fit, healthy, bright and beautiful teenager. However without the extraordinary care she received a few years ago at the Children's Intensive Care Unit at St Mary's Hospital her story may well have ended differently. I am so grateful for hers and all of the happy endings to come out of the unit.”
John Earl’s daughter Amelia was also cared for at St Mary’s Hospital Children’s Intensive Care Unit when she contracted meningitis. He said: “The care my daughter received can only be described as ‘world class’. From the moment we arrived, it reassured us to know she was in such good hands. However, creating a bigger and more state-of-art unit will mean more patients can receive the same level of care Amelia received. Every child needs the best chance of survival.”
Dr Simon Nadel, Children’s Intensive Care Unit consultant and clinical lead, said: “We are excited at the prospect of being able to give our exceptional care to even more children. We will be able to save more lives and give better care to more critically ill children and their families. However, we cannot do this without support.”
Josephine Watterson, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “There are so many ways to support our More Smiles Appeal. Everyone can make a difference.”
There are five general children’s intensive care units in London and 25 in the UK.
To find out more about the St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal, visit www.moresmiles.org.uk or telephone 020 3312 6179.
Notes to editors
The expansion of the Children’s Intensive Care Unit is a £10 million project supported by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care). To find out more about the St Mary’s Hospital ‘More Smiles Appeal’, telephone 020 3312 6179. You can stay up to date with the appeal through the appeal website www.moresmiles.org.uk or on Twitter @MoreSmilesApp
St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal
The St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal is a joint appeal between two charities, COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care) and Imperial College Healthcare Charity. It is aiming to raise at least £2million to help fund the £10 million expansion of the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital, London. The Appeal’s vision is of a top quality children’s intensive care unit, able to care for every critically ill child who needs it.
COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care) was founded in 1994 to support and raise money for the Children’s Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. The charity funds vital state-of-the-art medical equipment, a ground breaking programme of internationally significant research into life threatening childhood illness and provides support and accommodation to help families through one of the most difficult times imaginable. www.cosmiccharity.org.uk
Imperial College Healthcare Charity
Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises funds for five London hospitals within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals. Since 2009, the charity has awarded over £12million in grants to over 300 pieces of clinical research and healthcare projects across the hospitals, all of which aim to improve patient healthcare. www.imperialcharity.org.uk
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust provides acute and specialist health care for around a million people annually. We have five hospitals as well as community services across north west London. With Imperial College London, we are a designated academic health science centre, improving care through rapid translation of research and excellence in education.