A leading doctor has called on the community to push the fundraising campaign to create a new children’s emergency and trauma department in Southampton “to the next level”.
Dr Jason Barling, a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine and clinical lead for Southampton Children’s Hospital, said support for the project so far – which has raised more than £750,000 in donations – had been “overwhelming”.
But he said the campaign was now at a “crucial moment” as it requires a further £250,000 in fundraising before the next phase of development can proceed.
“We have been overwhelmed at the level of support shown by members of the public, businesses, media, patients and staff to this important milestone for young people across the south of England,” he said.
“It has created a real sense of community spirit, not just in the city but across the region, but we now need to reignite awareness and interest so we can reach our next target and release further funds from the government.”
The £4.8 million facility, which is expected to treat more than 30,000 youngsters every year from across Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire, Berkshire, West Sussex, Channel Islands and Oxfordshire, will see the development of a state-of-the-art eight-bed observation area, 11 glass-fronted and sound proof cubicles and on-hand x-ray facilities.
It will also include the creation of a reception, triage and waiting area for young patients, access to resuscitation facilities via a new link corridor, a nurse practitioner room and will incorporate the children’s assessment unit.
Although there is currently a separate waiting area for children within the emergency department at Southampton General Hospital, it is located inside the adult department and was originally designed for adults with minor injuries.
To fund the project, Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – part of Southampton Hospital Charity – and The Murray Parish Trust (TMPT) aim to raise £2 million which will be matched by the government and a further £800,000 allocated by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
Fundraisers hit £500,000 in donations in April to release the government’s first instalment of £500,000, with the next £250,000 set to trigger the next payment and take the fundraising figure to £1 million and the combined total to £2.8 million.
Dr Barling added: “We are extremely proud of the high level of skills and expertise in children’s emergency and trauma care in Southampton, but it is essential we have the facilities in place to match these standards.
“I am now urging everyone to pull together to push the campaign to the next level and help us reach the £2 million mark for combined fundraising and government funding.”
Dr Barling was one of 16 clinicians to set off on a 350-mile regional cycle challenge – known as Tour de Wessex – in aid of the appeal at the UHS open day on Saturday, with the team set to arrive back at Southampton General Hospital this evening (Tuesday) having raised more than £8,000 from the event so far.