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Rainbow Unit Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary

Date:       Saturday, February 19, 2005
Time:       noon to 3pm
Venue:    Children¹s Outpatient Department

West Suffolk Hospital’s Rainbow Unit will celebrate its fifth anniversary on Saturday (Feb 19) with a party for patients and staff.

February 2000 marked the end of the Rainbow Appeal, a six year fundraising campaign to raise £1 million to provide a new children’s ward (Rainbow Ward) complete with a larger playroom and schoolroom and a specialist children’s outpatient department.

The appeal saw thousands of people across west Suffolk running events such as coffee mornings, soup lunches, jumble sales, car boot sales, performances, and garden parties. In February 2000, the Duchess of Grafton officially opened the new ‘Rainbow Unit’.

Since then, the unit has seen a total of 136,500 children through their doors and money continues to be raised by the public for toys and equipment.

Staff at the Rainbow Unit have invited former patients and staff to the outpatients department to celebrate. For the children, there will be entertainment including a teddy bear’s clinic and for the adults a chance to visit the ward and speak to staff to see how things have changed over the last five years.

Paediatrician Hilary Scott, who was the Lead Consultant for Paediatrics at the time of the appeal, said the children’s outpatients department and the refurbishment of the children’s ward made a huge difference to children at the hospital.

She said: "To have a stand alone children’s outpatient department has been brilliant for the children. We have up to 24 clinics a week there plus investigations like blood samples and dealing with urgent outpatient reviews, previously done on the ward.

"On the ward we have a lovely playroom and outside play area and schoolroom and it’s much more comfortable for the children and their parents.

"All this was helped by the staff who were here at the time who did a tremendous amount of work in fundraising, but our thanks must go to the generosity of those people around west Suffolk who gave their time and money to the appeal."

Clinical Practice Facilitator Karen Miles was Clinical Nurse Manager for Paediatrics at the time of the appeal. She said: "The appeal made a huge difference to children’s services at the hospital.

"It still looks fresh, smart and new five years on. Some of the ideas that were used in the Rainbow Unit have now also been developed elsewhere in the hospital. For example the clinical preparation area on the children’s ward it behind glass, so that the nurses are still visible but have a quiet place in which to prepare drugs. This is now being rolled out elsewhere.

"Not only did the children benefit from the unit, but so did adults. Before, outpatients was used for both children and adults, separating the two by building a purpose-built unit has created more space for adult clinics to develop."

Karen directly benefited from the Rainbow Appeal two years ago. When the appeal ended some of the money was used in the special care baby unit.

She said: "When I had my baby two years ago he had to cared for in the special care baby unit for seven weeks. Some of the money that was left over from the appeal was used to create rooms where parents can be with their baby. I spent seven weeks on the unit."

Play Specialist Cathy Chapman said: "The party will celebrate the five years in which children, their parents, and staff have benefited from the facilities for which so many people in West Suffolk raised money for the Rainbow Appeal.

"It’s also our way of saying thank you to all our supporters over the years including volunteers, former staff and any one who has donated toys or money to the ward."


16 February 2005



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust