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How Alder Hey continues to lead the way in children’s health care

3 years ago

How Alder Hey continues to lead the way in children’s health care

Every year Alder Hey Children’s Hospital cares for more than 270,000 children, young people and their families and is a world leader in valuable research into children’s medicines, infection, inflammation and oncology. 

Already a Centre of Excellence for cancer, as well as spinal, heart and brain conditions, the Liverpool hospital which moved into a new state-of-the-art building in 2015, prides itself on leading the way in children’s health care and now, more than ever, it is doing just that.

“Our aim is to bring together the very best expertise, knowledge and healthcare and make a real impact on the lives and futures of children and young people across the world,” says the hospital.

And here’s how…

Building a healthier future

Alder Hey – Springfield Park

Alder Hey has vowed to provide the highest standard of quality healthcare, and pledged to enhance community and mental health services. It has promised to develop new medicines, life changing treatments and new technologies to vastly improve children’s healthcare outcomes, and promote better public health.

Alongside this, it has declared support for the City of Liverpool in its vision to become a UNICEF friendly City which puts the needs of children first and at its heart.

The hospital adds: “To enable us to deliver our ambitions, we continue to develop our Alder Hey in the Park campus, ensuring it features everything our children and young people need to get better and thrive.

“Within this world class facility, investments in leading IT systems and infrastructure, combined with brilliant leadership, will support our diverse and dedicated colleagues and partners to deliver the highest standards of care they aspire to.

“Together we will shape the lives of young people and give them the very best chance in life.”

New mental health hub

Wider plans to create a children’s and young people’s healthcare campus will include new mental health outpatient facilities and a brand new 12-bed specialist inpatient mental health unit, Sunflower House (which will replace the current Dewi Jones Unit in Waterloo), as well as community health services.

The enhanced mental health services will increase current available inpatient bed capacity and enable more children and young people to be seen and treated quickly by experienced, specialist clinicians. They and their families will be able to receive rapid and early access to co-ordinated multi-disciplinary care, up-to-date assessment and diagnosis.

It will also enable Alder Hey’s community services to link more closely with its specialist hospital services, improving care for children with long term conditions such as neurology, cardiology and infectious diseases and providing coordinated health assessments for Alder Hey’s most vulnerable children and their families.

The ‘7in10 Children’s Mental Health Appeal’ has raised more than £2m of the £3m needed to create the first-class facility.

You can donate to support the new facility here.

It’s home to the UK’s first and only purpose-built dedicated child bereavement centre

Picture by Gareth Jones

The Alder Centre was officially opened at Alder Hey this month, providing outstanding bereavement and grief counselling with care and education.

The centre team works closely with the hospital to provide support services and counselling for anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, under any circumstances, no matter how recent or long ago.

Emma Weaver, from Neston, used the Alder Centre services after she lost her daughter Georgina in May 2014.  Georgina was born earlier than expected with Tracheal Agenesis, a rare condition in which the windpipe fails to develop, and passed away at just five days old.


Emma’s eldest daughter Jess, 13, has gone on to raise just over £25,000 for Alder Hey in memory of Georgina. Emma said: “The Alder Centre played a huge part in helping us come to terms with our grief and heartache in the early days after Georgie died. We sought help when we were struggling, and Jess in particular found strength and courage from seeing her counsellor and attending events where she could spend time with other bereaved siblings.”

Plans for state-of-the-art unit for new-born babies

Former LFC player Jamie Carragher has backed a £2.5m fundraising appeal for a brand new, state of art Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The new Surgical NICU is a joint project between Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust as the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership. Subject to planning permission, the new unit will result in a further 22 neonatal cots for Liverpool and 18 individual family rooms so parents can stay with their poorly new-borns while they’re receiving expert care.


It will address concerns that babies who need specialist surgery currently have to be transferred to Alder Hey to get the specialist surgical care they need and are then transferred back to Liverpool Women’s Hospital to continue their specialist neonatal care.

The planned facility will cost £16.5m to build in total.

Jamie said: “My family and I will forever be grateful to Alder Hey after they cared for me as a baby. The plan to build a new neonatal unit sounds like a fantastic idea. It will help keep families together at such a worrying time and provide lifesaving treatment.”

Innovation – Telemedicine Robots during COVID-19

Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s Hospital used new and innovative telemedicine robots to ensure babies were provided with the best possible care without the clinician being in the room.

Instead, they used new telemedicine robots, funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity, to treat young patients. Paediatric and neonatal surgeons from Alder Hey and neonatologists from Liverpool Women’s often work side by side on wards or in operating theatres treating sick neonatal babies but the COVID-19 pandemic restricted movement of staff between the two hospitals.

The new equipment meant clinicians were – and are still – able to take part in ward rounds, deliver ad hoc emergency medical advice and carry out urgent reviews for babies that have just been operated on without having to travel to the relevant hospital site.

Innovation – NeedleSmart

Alder Hey has joined forces with NeedleSmart to create better safety, sustainability and workflow when it comes to the use of hypodermic needles.

The NeedleSmart PRO, NeedleSmart’s flagship product, uses unique technology to take a used and contaminated hypodermic needle immediately after use and, in just six seconds, heat and compress it into a safe “ball” of metal at the end of the syringe.

It leaves it free from virus and bacteria, and no longer capable of causing injury.

Alongside the immediate safety improvement to clinicians, there are hopes of recycling possibilities and, ultimately, devising NeedleSmart software to record clinical information.

Claire Liddy, Managing Director of Innovation at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At Alder Hey we want to ensure that we are always sitting on the leading edge of clinical innovation. In the case of NeedleSmart, we have found a product solution that offers a number of innovation drivers to build from. The team at NeedleSmart are constantly challenging conventional thinking around sharps disposal and what benefits could be achieved at that moment.”

Find out more about Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on the website here.


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