Sophie Ellis-Bextor is fronting an appeal to help create a world-leading paediatric centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The Children’s Sunshine Appeal is a new fundraising campaign to raise £5 million towards a brand new £45 million unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for children and young people across London and the South of England. When complete, the unit will cement Chelsea and Westminster’s pioneering reputation in paediatric surgical care, while continuing to offer exemplary 24/7 services to residents of all ages.

Singer, model and actor, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who gave birth to both of her children at the Hospital, is backing the Appeal: "Both of my sons were born prematurely and needed to spend their first few weeks in an incubator, so I have experienced first hand the expertise and support offered at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. My boys are now both thriving which is a testament to the expert care and attention they received as babies.

“The new paediatric unit will help make sure every child continues to receive the best possible start in life from some of the most talented doctors in the world. I urge people across London and the South East to get behind the Children’s Sunshine Appeal and help Chelsea and Westminster Hospital become a world leader in paediatric care and save more children’s lives.”

The Hospital currently treats more than 85,000 children every year and this figure is increasing annually. The money raised by the Appeal will help save children’s lives and enhance the healing environment by providing new equipment and services for children and young people, including:

  • Four new paediatric operating theatres which will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and telemedicine facilities;
  • An extended Paediatric High Dependency Unit for the most sick or unwell children;
  • New high quality waiting and pre-operation areas, a day-surgery unit, together with expanded day-case and recovery facilities for in and out-patient services for local children and young people;
  • Additional family accommodation, so parents can remain at their child’s bedside;
  • Sensory rooms which help provide stimulation to assist the healing process;
  • A new adolescent ward which will enable young people to be cared for in an appropriate setting that meets their needs, alleviates stress and assists recovery;
  • Museum-standard visual arts to enhance the Hospital’s healing environment;
  • The upgrading and relocation of all the Hospital’s paediatric wards, and
  • The first children’s surgery robot in the south of England. This will enable keyhole surgery to be provided for young patients and will help minimise the pain of surgery and reduce recovery times.

The new unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital will provide the highest quality treatment for patients through pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adolescence, ensuring that London’s young people benefit from the latest clinical innovations and the best possible care.

Gary Lawson, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, said: “The NHS has already committed £40 million to the project, but to reach our target we need the help and generosity of Londoners to raise the additional £5 million for the unit to be what these children and their families deserve.”

The new unit will offer enhanced neonatal and paediatric services to patients and their families, house world-class facilities and cutting edge technology and will be an international centre for training of the next generation of specialist paediatric medical staff.

Mr Simon Eccles, Consultant Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon and Clinical Director of Paediatrics added: “The benefits this new unit will bring to children and their families across the South East cannot be underestimated. These new facilities will be able to offer minimally invasive surgery for children, reduce levels of pain and vastly improve recovery times. In addition, the Charity’s arts-in-health programme at the Hospital and the enhanced healing environment – including access to sensory rooms for even the sickest of children – will reduce stress and speed-up recovery.”

Visit www.childrenssunshineappeal.org.uk to find out how you can donate.

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