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02 May 2014

Specialist children's services under one roof at the expanded Bristol Children's Hospital

A decade of planning will come to fruition next week when specialist children's services at Frenchay Hospital move to the extended Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in the centre of Bristol.

The new helideck, on the roof of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI), will also become operational next week, to ensure seriously ill and injured patients can be transferred to the both the children's hospital and the BRI as quickly as possible.

From Wednesday 7 May, all specialist paediatric services in Bristol will be delivered from the children's hospital, run by University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol). This follows the move of paediatric burns, neurosurgery, plastic, orthopaedic and children's Accident & Emergency services from Frenchay to the children's hospital.

Dr Bryony Strachan, clinical chair of the Division of Women's and Children's Services, said: "The move to centralise inpatient and specialist children's services at the children's hospital was first recommended by Sir Ian Kennedy in 2001 and together the health services in Bristol and the surrounding areas have been planning this significant move for over a decade. We are delighted to welcome colleagues, patients and families from North Bristol NHS Trust."

Dr Amber Young, Lead for Specialist Paediatrics at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "This is the end of a very long journey. I will miss the Barbara Russell Unit hugely but I am extremely excited about moving such a high quality specialist service to a nationally-renowned children's hospital."

Over two years ago, UH Bristol began building a £31 million extension to the children's hospital to accommodate services transferring from Frenchay. New facilities include a 16-bed neurosciences ward, a four-bed burn centre, six high dependency beds, specialist theatres for burns and neurosurgery, a hybrid theatre to enable complex cardiac procedures, two day-case theatres, an intraoperative MRI scanner and other diagnostic and outpatient facilities.

"For the first time, all inpatient and children's specialist services in Bristol will be provided from one site. The services transferring from Frenchay are some of the most specialist in England and we look forward to offering them from the children's hospital, working even more closely with colleagues and getting to know patients and their families," said Bryony Strachan.

The transfer of specialist A&E services for children to the children's hospital means that in the future all children who are seriously ill or injured will be treated at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Children with minor illnesses and injuries will still be treated at other centres and GP surgeries as appropriate including the new Southmead hospital which will continue to provide a Children's Minor Injury Unit (MIU).  

Dr Giles Haythornthwaite, consultant in the Emergency Department at the children's hospital, said, "Having all children's specialist services located together will improve care for those seriously ill and injured children. Injuries and illnesses do not necessarily respect the traditional clinical specialties, for example a child involved in a traffic accident is often injured in a number of different places. They might require brain surgeons to deal with their head injury and paediatric surgeons to deal with their abdominal injury. When all children's specialist services are together at the Bristol children's hospital, all the different specialist teams that might be required will be able to treat children together in one location, This has not been possible before in Bristol.

"As a consultant in the children's Emergency Department I am prepared to deal with any ill or injured patient who comes into our department. The fact that we now have the support of all children's specialties within the one hospital will enable my colleagues and I to deliver more holistic and ultimately better care to patients."