Shona Cardle: Children’s hospital charity aims to make it better

The Royal Hospital for Children treats around 168,000 babies, children and young adults each year
The Royal Hospital for Children treats around 168,000 babies, children and young adults each year
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It has been almost two years since the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital opened in Glasgow. The towering structure has become a familiar sight in the skyline of the city, with patients from across Scotland travelling to be treated for various ailments, from minor injuries to the most serious of illnesses.

And while much of the focus has been on the adult hospital, the adjoining Royal Hospital for Children plays an equally important role. Having moved from the site at Yorkhill in 2015, the new children’s hospital treats around 168,000 babies, children and young people each year.

Recently, BBC Scotland shone a spotlight on the hospital campus in a documentary titled Scotland’s Superhospital. Viewers were taken on a journey inside both buildings, meeting various staff as they worked tirelessly to support patients.

One such patient was Isla, an eight-year-old girl with fluid build-up in the brain. The documentary showed Isla’s consultant, Mr Roddy O’Kane, explaining what was wrong with her and what he needed to do to fix the problem – in terms she could easily understand.

On the documentary, we saw Mr O’Kane operate on Isla using a state-of-the-art neurosurgical endoscope. This was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Scottish public, who helped Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity raise £200,000 last Christmas to bring this equipment to the hospital.

Having had the privilege of working with Roddy during last year’s appeal, I have witnessed first-hand the unwavering passion and dedication that he and his colleagues in the NHS demonstrate daily. In the weeks since the documentary was broadcast, I have been approached on countless occasions by friends and colleagues expressing their utmost admiration for these remarkable individuals.

And while Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity is committed to raising money for medical equipment, our work is wide-ranging.

For children, play is vital and that is why we have established a comprehensive age and needs appropriate play programme that seeks to include every child at the hospital, bringing an air of normality to their hospital stay.

We are privileged to be involved with the hospital, helping families from across the country at what can often be the toughest time of their lives. The support we offer takes many forms – from our play programme to our Family Support Service and our ongoing commitment to bring the latest medical technology to Scotland.

Earlier this month we launched the Schiehallion Appeal, which aims to raise £500,000 to help young patients with cancer and blood disorders. Named after the oncology ward at the children’s hospital, the Schiehallion Appeal will bring more of the latest treatments to Scotland, giving some of our most seriously ill children the best possible chance of life.

Helping the children who attend the hospital – wherever they may come from – is our overriding ambition. And I pledge that Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity will continue to provide the best possible care and experience possible for the children and their families at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Shona Cardle is chief executive of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. She tweets at @Shonacardle1