Room to Breathe

Room to Breathe is an exciting three-year appeal to raise £1 million towards the redevelopment of the respiratory ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

About respiratory medicine at GOSH

Respiratory conditions are the most common cause of illness in children. GOSH provides one of the largest respiratory services in the UK – babies, children and teenagers are referred here from other hospitals, as well as from other internal departments. These patients require care for a range of very severe and complex respiratory conditions, including:

  • cystic fibrosis 
  • complex asthma 
  • acute or chronic lung disease or malformation of the respiratory tract 
  • complex breathing problems caused by syndromes such as Down’s or Crouzon
  • obstructive sleep apnoea 
  • respiratory failure due to severe infection 

The highly-skilled respiratory team provide all aspects of clinical care, from the early stages of testing and diagnosis to the management of conditions, treatments and – when all other options have been exhausted – surgery and lung transplants. 

Research carried out in conjunction with our research partner, the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH), supports this clinical care. Current projects aim to identify the causes and consequences of a number of childhood respiratory diseases to enable the development of new and better diagnostic tests, treatments and hopefully cures for these conditions. 

This wide range of clinical and research expertise on a single site is unique within Europe. 

An urgent need

While the care provided by our respiratory team is world-class, sadly our current facilities for inpatients are not.

The Respiratory Service is in desperate need of a new, state-of-the-art ward to ensure all of the hospital’s respiratory patients receive the best possible experience.

Some of the children the service sees need our help simply to breathe. Many of them are here for weeks, months, even years, or come back again and again throughout their young lives.

Dr Collin Wallis

Yet our old ward is extremely outdated and so cramped there is hardly enough room for all the life-saving equipment let alone space for a child’s family to stay near them. Worst of all, we don’t have enough space to treat all the patients who need our help. 

We urgently need to create a new, comfortable ward environment that meets the highest clinical standards for children and their families as they face what can be a very difficult and stressful time.

Dr Colin Wallis

Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician and the Respiratory Service Lead

Looking forward 

Over the next three years the Room to Breathe appeal aims to raise a phenomenal £1 million which will have a truly significant impact on the redevelopment of the respiratory ward, increasing efficiency and allowing us to treat more patients every day in a much better setting. Room to Breathe will fund the following facilities as well as providing much needed, additional general funding towards the redevelopment of the ward:

  • Four single en suite bedrooms, including one isolation bedroom, offering more dignity and privacy for our patients and their families, helping to make their stay with us as stress-free as possible. This will also allow a parent or carer to sleep by their child’s bedside, which we know is important to their recovery.
  • A parent sitting room and beverage bay where parents, many of whom are living by their child’s bedside, can take time out and relax. They can have a drink or a snack, or spend quiet time with their other children. The room will be equipped with a sofa and chairs, a table, and tea and coffee making facilities. It will be a space where they can meet and talk to fellow parents who are on a similar journey and will provide much needed comfort during what can be a very distressing time.
  • An interview room where parents and staff can step away from the patient’s bedside and the busy ward environment to have confidential or sensitive conversations.
  • A staff training and rest area equipped with audio-visual technology to enable staff to undergo professional development training, and to review x-rays and communicate with colleagues outside of the hospital whilst discussing patients’ treatment. The area will also provide our hard-working staff with a dedicated space, offering some privacy to eat and rest, whilst staying close to their patients.

These facilities will be giving not only our young patients the room to breathe that they so desperately need, but also their parents, families and our staff. By raising the funds to help create this new ward you will make a real difference to respiratory patients now and for generations to come. 

Meet Scarlett

GOSH respiratory patient Scarlett
Scarlett was born at 38 weeks, and even though she was small at just 4lbs, she was a healthy and happy baby. As with every baby born in the UK, Scarlett had a heel prick test when she was just a few days old to screen for rare conditions. GOSH runs this screening programme, for the whole of the UK.

A few days after the test Scarlett’s mum Clare received a call from a clinical nurse specialist at GOSH, who asked to come and visit Scarlett and her family later that day. Scarlett’s family were told that she had been born with cystic fibrosis, a life-limiting disorder which affects many organs and in particular causes serious problems with the lungs.

Clare explains, “We were gobsmacked, hugely shocked, but whilst feeling totally overwhelmed it was nice to know we had such an amazing support network at GOSH”.

Scarlett has monthly check-ups at the hospital and as she grows she will need regular two week stays on the respiratory ward to receive intensive physiotherapy and intravenous antibiotics. She will also frequently see a dietician, physiotherapist and her consultant.