Talk of a new build for Alder Hey has been going on for nearly a decade. Sir David Henshaw, Chair of Alder Hey states that imminent action will silence all doubts.
"I can empathise with those who say, "we will believe in the Children’s Health Park when we see it".
"However, let me reassure everyone that the preferred bidder for the design and construction of the health park will be announced in 2012, with work beginning that year.
"People may also wonder how can that be possible in the current economic climate? While there is no escaping that these are difficult times, regardless, the Children’s Health Park will go ahead. This will happen because Alder Hey is in good financial shape. The Trust has handled its finances extremely carefully.
"Therefore, there is no better time for the creation of the Children’s Health Park - it’s time for the world to see what we offer here and it should be in a building fit for the purpose.
"Our vision is to be ranked as the best for healthcare provision and preventative care for paediatrics. We want and deserve local, national and global recognition.
"Additionally, to be really effective, the Trust’s vision extends to further engagement with stakeholders that can help us develop, such as collaborative research with Liverpool city universities and involvement with The Merseyside Partnership. We also need to encourage private investment to help us grow our business. Partnership working will enable us to be recognised as an organisation that is keen for progression.
"The Trust has achieved a great deal over the years, but now it’s time to take matters up a gear and to be seen as a player of intent and merit. To achieve that we will need to maintain and build on our reputation for the future.
"The more we build on our strengths, the more employment we can offer. We want to attract healthcare professionals with the best skills and the finest expertise. In turn, those experts in their field will require the finest teams around them. Like attracts like and those teams will need services. The Trust will grow in reputation and as an employer on a local and global scale.
"To any doubters I would say: watch this space. The Children’s Health Park is only the start."
It only takes a quick tour around Alder Hey to understand why the Children’s Health Park is long overdue.
The clinics and wards are overcrowded, natural light and views are severely limited or non existent. The fabric of the building is worn and prohibitively expensive to maintain.
These are the physical aspects represented in a building which has gone beyond its ‘usefulness date’ but what is it like to be a patient and parent at Alder Hey?
Seventeen year old Dylan Lewis, a dialysis patient on ward D2 and his mum, Margaret, attend Alder Hay three times a week for at least three and a half hours or more, travelling from their home in North Wales. Here they talk about their experiences at Alder Hey and what they would like to see in The Children’s Health Park .
"The staff are really nice here at Alder Hey, but D2 as a place to spend so much of my time isn’t nice at all. It’s so long and narrow. There’s no place for my mum to go if she wants a bit of peace to read her book.
"I bring my laptop in and spend hours playing a game but I can’t get an internet connection so that gets boring after a while.
"If I have to stay overnight on the ward, it can be difficult to get to sleep because of the ages of the other patients. Some are really young and I would prefer my own room especially now I’m older."
On Dylan's wish list: Single bedroom , Wifi , Play Station console, a room for teenage patients to hang out in, a pool table - and 'a comfortable chair for my mum to sit on while she’s waiting for me'.
"We leave our home in North Wales early in the morning to beat the traffic so I’d love it if I could have a cup of tea and some toast with Dylan as he settles down for his treatment. I welcome the idea of ward based kitchens in the Children’s Health Park - what a great idea.
"I have to sit on the ward with Dylan for hours every week and Dylan’s dialysis machine is right across from the door of the outpatient clinic for this department. Sometimes it can be really distressing to hear children crying and screaming, especially those patients with a needle phobia. If Dylan is occupied with his computer and I want to stretch my legs or just find somewhere quiet to think – there is absolutely no where to go, no escape from the activity of a busy hospital.
"Even gazing out of the window is impossible, the windows either have frosted glass for privacy or they overlook a roof or brick walls."
On Margaret's wish list: Big windows that open with a view, a cubicle for privacy especially when Dylan is poorly with ‘flu or a stomach upset and facilities for getting a cup of tea without having to go to the canteen.