By Lucy Ashton

Ward 2A/2B at the Royal Hospital for Children re-opened to patients this week after an extensive refurbishment project.

The ward, which cares for children and young people with blood-borne diseases and cancers, will be called Schiehallion, officially bringing back a much-loved name in Scottish healthcare.

The project follows a widely publicised scandal over infections leading to deaths at the hospital campus and has involved an £8.9 million investment in significant upgrade work, including replacement of the ventilation systems, and once open it will provide a safe, high-quality environment that is fully suited to the needs of our young patients and their families.

Upgraded patients rooms and ensuites, alongside new play/social facilities and updated catering arrangements, mean the new ward will provide holistic care for patients of all ages, looking after their mental wellbeing as well as their physical needs.

Key points of the refurbishment include:

  • Replacement of the ventilation system, with 11 new air handling units
  • Refurbished patient rooms, with upgraded ensuite facilities
  • New iPads and entertainment system in patient rooms
  • Play/social facilities for all age groups, including new chill-out area for children aged 8-12 years, paid for by former patients’ fund-raising efforts
  • Upgraded kitchen and sleeping facilities for parents and carers
  • New SMaRT (Scottish Paediatric Molecular Radiotherapy Service) unit brought into use, providing specialist therapy for children across Scotland.

    Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical Director (Acute), NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “It is wonderful news that Ward 2A/2B is reopening – and it is particularly special that it will be officially called Schiehallion again. Re-introducing such a well-loved, well-known and well-respected name in Scottish healthcare is the perfect way to complete this project, and I’m delighted that the Schiehallion family will be returning to the RHC.”During the refurbishment work, our staff have continued to provide the very best care for our young patients in Wards 6A and 4B at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, and I would like to thank them all for their professionalism and dedication during this time.

    “The return to the RHC is an important moment for patients, relatives and carers, and staff, and we have put in place a comprehensive plan to ensure the move goes smoothly, and that our young patients and their families or carers are fully supported, and kept safe.

    “Through the extensive work we have carried out, we are confident that we have the highest-quality and safest environment in which to look after all the needs of our young patients and their families or carers.

    “We would like to give special thanks for the tremendous fund-raising efforts of former patients Molly Cuddihyand Sara Millar, pictured top of page, who have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the hospital and enabled the creation of a new, purpose-built chill-out area for children aged 8-12 years, to go alongside spaces for younger children and teenagers.

    “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our patients and their families and all our staff for their forbearance over the past two and a half years whilst the service was provided in Wards 6A and 4B.  We are very conscious that this period – and indeed the period leading up to the move in September 2018 – has at times been challenging and we remain committed to supporting our patients, families and staff as we prepare to return to Wards 2A and B.”

    Julie Critchley, Director of NHS Scotland Assure, said: “NHS Scotland Assure is here to bring experts together to reduce risk in the healthcare built environment and we are pleased to have been able to support NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with the successful re-opening of Schiehallion.”

    Tom Steele, Director of Estates and Facilities, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, paid tribute to all those involved in the project.

    He  said: “Completing a project as complex as this is a huge achievement at the best of times. However, to carry out this work within a working hospital, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the implications of Brexit has been a significant feat of engineering, construction and multidisciplinary teamwork.

    “The finish and facilities we all see on the wards are fantastic, and allow us to provide the best environment in which to meet all of our young patients’ needs. However, the huge amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes means this ward is also among the safest and best-designed units of its type in the UK, and possibly wider afield.

    “I would like to thank all those involved in the project – the NHSGGC Project Team, designers and our external contractors – for the job they have done. I would also like to thank NHS Assure who have worked with us.”

    Meanwhile,Tom Steele, the man charged with looking after NHS Greater Glasgow’s hospitals and estates, has been appointed an Honorary Professor of Glasgow Caledonian University.

    Professor Steele is Director of Estates and Facilities at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGCC) and a graduate of GCU with whom he has maintained alumni relations since the 1990s.

    The directorate Professor Steele leads has an asset base of 1.2 million square metres, over 126 sites, employing 4,900 staff, with an annual revenue budget of £250 million and a significant planned capital investment programme rolling out in the coming years.  Professor Steele, pictured left,  has been a driving force bhind a Memorandum of Understanding between GCU and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, under which the board has provided to date some 10 internships for the university’s Sustainable Urban Environment and Environmental Management students.

    Professor Steele has been associated with the university since 1990, as both a student and occasional lecturer. He said: “I am thrilled and humbled to be appointed an Honorary Professor of Glasgow Caledonian University and look forward to further developing the already strong links we have forged. The partnership between NHSGGC and GCU is benefitting both organisations, with research into creating better and more sustainable healthcare facilities for the communities we serve.

    “More than that, we have been proud to welcome a number of students through student placements and paid internships, who have brought passion and expertise, particularly in areas around improving our greenspace and sustainability. Many of those students have gone on to work with us, improving our health care facilities and estates and providing expertise as we work towards becoming a net zero organisation.”

    Since 2016, Professor Steele has sat on the GCU’s Built Environment & Asset Management (BEAM) Research Centre Advisory Board and has recently taken up the role of Chair. His support and influence have been significant in raising more than £200,000 for BEAM to fund healthcare facilities research.

    BEAM Director Professor Rohinton Emmanuel said: “With over 30 years of experience in healthcare-built environments, Tom is a perfect strategic fit for the BEAM Research Centre, in which he has recently taken up the role of Chair of the Advisory Board. The centre’s research, knowledge transfer and capacity building initiatives will gain significant benefits from Tom’s experience and connections to align our research expertise in Built Environment Asset Management and the University Strategy Research Theme in Sustainable Environments.”

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