Staff and patients have given the thumbs up to the new state-of-the-art children’s unit at Raigmore Hospital which is now operational after the big move out of the former children’s ward.
The new facility, which will transform children’s healthcare for a generation, has been made possible thanks to overwhelming public support for a £2 million appeal launched by the Archie Foundation in conjunction with The Inverness Courier.
With its cheerful and brightly coloured decoration, it has been designed to provide a more child-centred atmosphere.
The unit welcomed its first official visitor, Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael, in recognition of grants totalling £200,000 from both the Inverness Common Good Fund and Highland Council towards the project.
As she toured the unit and chatted to families, Provost Carmichael was impressed by features such as the large-scale eye-catching photographs of Highland scenes overlaid with the outlines of the region’s wildlife – and noted that even Nessie made several appearances.
She was accompanied by David Sutherland, the appeal chairman, David Cunningham, Archie Foundation chief executive, and Linda Kirkland, NHS Highland director of operations. Senior staff nurse Kat Lee said staff were still unpacking but happy to be in the new unit. "It is a lovely bright space," she said. "I think it is beautifully done. It is great credit to everyone who has been involved."
Julia Jones, of Aviemore, felt there was a big difference between the old ward and the new unit – her eight-year-old daughter, Lucy, who has juvenile arthritis, attends the day case unit every two weeks for infusion treatment.
"The new unit is lovely," said a delighted Mrs Jones. "It seems more spacious and really bright. We love the photographs especially the one of Stac Pollaidh as we have climbed up it."
First-time patient Niamh Glass (14), of Beaufort Gardens, Beauly, was recovering from an operation, having been admitted as an emergency, but gave her approval to the new unit.
Her mother, Kirsty, liked the large-scale photographs of Highland scenes. "It has a calming feel about it and it has been nice trying to work out where the different scenes are," she said. "The staff have been wonderful – very attentive and welcoming."
Louise Bruce is familiar with the old ward as her eight-month-old son, Jack, has been in and out of hospital having been diagnosed with chronic lung disease.
Although she noted one or two glitches, she was hopeful they would soon be resolved. "The new unit is definitely an improvement," said Ms Bruce of Bruce Avenue, Dalneigh. The new unit, which has its own entrance, was created by redeveloping the former ward 11, previously used for respiratory patients.
The 30-bed inpatient area includes a purpose-built four-bed high dependency unit, a two-bed room for teenagers or patients needing palliative care, drop-down beds for parents and a family room.
It also features separate triage and day care areas, an education room, playroom and outside play courtyard and a telehealth training room.