The Horton General Hospital, part of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has a brand new space to look after children needing emergency care.

The new Children’s Emergency area has four cubicle spaces, alongside a dedicated waiting room, all created specifically around the needs of younger patients.

Children and their families can now both wait and then be assessed and treated, away from the main adult areas, which can often be a confusing and distressing place for younger patients.

National funding has recently been invested for major improvements across the whole of the Horton Emergency Department – but there was need for extra support to complete a truly child-friendly Emergency space.

Horton General Hospital Charity, which is part of Oxford Hospitals Charity, has provided £50,000 to make this happen.

Emergency Consultant, Phil Hormbrey, who has worked at the Horton General for over 20 years said: ‘This new dedicated space will ensure children are able to be cared for in a secure and calm area, which is exactly what they need.

‘We are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer this to our local community and are delighted this, together with the other Emergency Department improvements recently been completed, have created a unit that is perfectly designed for the needs of Banbury and the surrounding areas..’

Debbie Kirby, Senior Sister at the Horton Emergency Department, added: ‘We are really proud of the new facilities and can already see the benefits of this new space with the first young patients coming through.

‘Having a dedicated area for children will make such a difference to our ability to support the immediate emergency care needs of local young patients. It’s a tremendous boost for the team here and is something we are all so pleased with.’

Around 11,000 children a year attend the main Emergency department at the Horton, and with parents and siblings included it is estimated the new space will be used by over 37,000 people every year.

Children’s Matron at the Horton, Pippa Parnell, added: ‘The new environment is bright and friendly, and our specialist staff will be able to use distraction therapies and techniques to support young patients, away from the adult noise and distress.’

The Horton General Hospital Charity support includes funding new wall-mounted workstations and computers – giving more space and keeping equipment safely away from little fingers, high-tech observation monitors, and child-friendly seating. Work is now also taking place to add suitable wall art to keep children engaged and feeling safe and toys and activities are being added to the area.

Anne Tutt – who is Vice-Chair at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as well as a trustee of Oxford Hospitals Charity, which includes the Horton charitable arm, said: ‘It’s been wonderful to be able to see this real improvement first hand that will make such a difference to families in the North of the county. As a local person myself, I know just how welcome this significant investment is.’

Douglas Graham, CEO of the charity added: ‘This is a massive improvement at the Horton and we are delighted to have played our part in making this happen – especially during such a complex year.

‘As always investment like this from our charity is down to the generosity of our supporters – whose donations, fundraising and gifts in wills allow us to make all our hospitals so much more welcoming and better equipped for patients and staff.’

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The Emergency department can be a scary place for children, this new dedicated area in our Emergency Department will make children and their loved ones feel more comfortable in a hospital setting should they need emergency care.

‘We are so pleased to have such positive news to celebrate at this time, and very grateful to the teams who have made it all happen. Working with our hospital charity is always a privilege and this significant contribution once again highlights the huge difference they make to our patients and staff. We are all very much looking forward to using this space.’

Local MP, Victoria Prentis welcomed the new developments and said: ‘I am really pleased to hear about the opening of a dedicated emergency space for children at the Horton. It is an extremely welcome addition to our local General Hospital.

‘Having had to use the Horton A&E a number of times for my own children when they were growing up, I know how important this investment is to the Horton. Ensuring children and their parents have a safe and secure area to go to when they are seeking emergency treatment will make a big difference to their overall experience.

‘I am incredibly grateful to the Horton General Hospital Charity for their generosity and support in making this project happen. This investment in the Horton helps it move forward in its vision to become a hospital fit for the future, serving families in North Oxfordshire and beyond in the years to come.’

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Horton General Hospital Charity is part of Oxford Hospitals Charity (registered charity number 1175809)