Work on Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s £40 million revamp is well under way – and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg joined families to officially launch the project.
Construction has begun on a new wing at the hospital, which will include an outpatients’ department, modern wards and facilities, a new main entrance and a large ‘play tower’.
Sheffield Hallam MP Mr Clegg met hospital chiefs and families of young patients to look at how the project is taking shape, with the deep foundations for the building already having been dug.
He said the plans for the finished wing looked ‘magnificent’ - while 13-year-old patient Lewis Addy’s mum Gill said that the new building will be a ‘big improvement’.
Lewis has cerebral palsy, and underwent surgery at the hospital this week to treat muscle spasms.
“It sounds quite fantastic compared to what they have now,” said Gill, 47, who has attended the hospital with her son for the past five years.
Nick Jeffrey, chairman of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said the outpatients building will be open by autumn next year, with the whole scheme finished by summer 2016.
Work is also starting on a new university car park – with spaces for patients’ families - opposite the hospital.
“Our staff have had to work under very difficult circumstances in a very old building,” said Mr Jeffrey.
“The existing building here is no longer fit for purpose, and this organisation has had to take the risk of borrowing a significant amount of money to build a new facility fit for the next generation of patients.”
The Children’s Hospital Charity is raising £10 million for the building through its Make It Better appeal.
The remaining £30 million will come from government and private sources.
Mr Clegg added: “The hospital has a very special place in the hearts of everybody in Sheffield.
“You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved and extremely impressed by the work done here.
“The new wing will transform the hospital out of all recognition – I think it’s terrifically exciting.”