More Smiles Appeal breaks new ground on first anniversary
Work to help the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington save even more young patients’ lives has started - a year after a charity appeal to renovate and expand the facility was launched.
The 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 at St Mary’s Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The remainder of the costs are to be funded by the Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.
The appeal, which is supported by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, was launched on 24 November 2015 by Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley, whose niece was treated at the unit. Since then the appeal has raised more than £1.2 million thanks to the generous support of the public.
The first phase of works to enable the expansion of the unit began this autumn. It is expected that the new unit will be completed by the end of 2018. The existing unit will remain open throughout the redevelopment works.
Dr Simon Nadel, Children’s Intensive Care Unit consultant and clinical lead, said:
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone in the More Smiles Appeal and would like to thank the generosity of all those who have brought us this far. To know we are half-way towards realising our ambition of being able to give exceptional care to more children and their families is truly exciting. However, there is still a long way to go. We cannot do this without the continued support of the public.”
Josephine Watterson, director of fundraising and communications at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said:
“We are extremely grateful to the public who have given so generously to the More Smiles Appeal. Their donations will help save many lives in the future. But we are only half-way there and we will be continuing our efforts to secure the support we need to reach our target in the coming year. There are so many ways people can get involved, every penny can make a difference.”
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.
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.
More than 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.
Speaking at last year’s launch 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.”
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 expanded Children’s Intensive Care Unit will occupy space currently used by the paediatric research unit (PRU) run by Imperial College. Work is now underway to enable the transfer of the PRU to a new location on the Cambridge Wing of the St Mary’s Hospital site.
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
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 £2 million 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 in need.
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 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 £20 million in grants to over 400 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 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.