Why Wales Needs A Children’s Hospital

The images of cramped corridors and barren rooms reveal why Wales needs a purpose-built children’s hospital. Thousands of children are still being treated in coldly clinical hospital rooms designed with adults in mind, rather than in the more relaxed environment of the new children’s hospital.

Their parents are still making trips up and down old-fashioned corridors as they make their way to and from their child’s bedside.

Just a week after Cardiff Local Health Board scuppered hopes that work will soon start on the second phase of the Children’s Hospital for Wales, the Western Mail can reveal the stark differences between its facilities and the University Hospital of Wales.

The second phase of the hospital will contain outpatient clinics, operating theatres and an intensive care unit.

Because building work has still not started – the children’s hospital has been admitting patients for more than two years – sick children are not benefiting from the improved environment.

A spokeswoman for the Noah’s Ark Appeal, which has raised millions to build and equip the Children’s Hospital for Wales, said, “Many thousands of children each year are treated in old, shabby, cramped facilities, where there is no privacy and no provision for parents, who have to sleep on chairs or even the floor.

“The Children’s Hospital for Wales is a world away from this, a truly world-class environment, purpose-built and child-friendly with the best facilities for both children and their families.”

Cardiff Local Health Board refused to support the plans for the second phase of the development because of the financial implications. It would be expected to contribute up to £1m a year towards the running costs.

Nick Bourne, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, who yesterday met officials from the Noah’s Ark Appeal, said, “This excellent project must not be downgraded in any way to save money. Scotland has four children’s hospitals. Wales needs and deserves an excellent children’s hospital too.

“I totally share the sense of anger and dismay felt by the representatives of the Noah’s Ark Appeal, who have done so much to raise money for this project.

“It is imperative that the Assembly Government steps in and fills the funding gap.”

Health Minister Edwina Hart has requested a detailed analysis of the current services provided by the Children’s Hospital for Wales, and the proposals for phase two.

A spokesman for the Assembly Government said, “Once this information is available, the minister will bring all relevant LHBs and the trust together to broker a way forward in September.”