A hospital designed around children

A hospital designed around children

A hospital designed around children

Welcome to our new hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) officially opens the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre, home to the brand-new Premier Inn Clinical Building.

In the heart of a Central London hospital, you will find a vast turquoise lake, framed by snow-capped mountains. You may even lock eyes with a pink chameleon as you walk down the corridor.

No matter the weather outside, children in the new respiratory unit can peer out onto a sun-drenched lake, sandy beach or lush green field thanks to two remarkably realistic ‘virtual windows’ designed by Accademia. GOSH is no ordinary hospital.

The possum, the pelican and the panther

At GOSH, you’re never far from some exotic friends. Each ward is decorated with animal artwork, situated on the floor which best represents the animal’s natural habitat. Level 2 features animals that would live on the ground and Level 7 has animals you would see in the sky.

In 2015, more than 100 children voted to help choose seven new ward mascots for the Premier Inn Clinical Building. Patients can now sleep alongside a giant pelican on Level 7, or meet the spotted leopard patrolling the corridors of Level 2.

Space to play, space to rest

Patient bedrooms in the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre are spacious, en-suite, and have enough room for a parent or carer to stay by the bedside. This gives each child their own space and privacy, while letting more parents get a decent night’s sleep close to their child.

The new wards include dedicated areas for young children, teenagers and adults to relax. Some rooms use coloured lights to stimulate the senses and support development, while adolescent rooms kitted out with game consoles. These spaces give patients a place to be themselves, no matter their age.

Come with us

From a menagerie of ward mascots to fully equipped playrooms for all ages, the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre was designed to be more than just a clinical space. The two interlinking buildings are designed to make the hospital an easier place to be for young people and their families. These careful touches can reduce anxiety and help children to recover more quickly.

Scroll down to join us on a level-by-level tour of the Premier Inn Clinical Building and meet the people who live and work in its wards every day.

“I could explode! The playroom is five times bigger than the other playroom"

Pelican Ward is the hospital’s new specialist centre for children with joint and muscle problems, skin conditions and infectious diseases. It also supports patients whose natural defence system is not what it should be, including those born without an immune system.

If a child has an infection, staff are able to isolate that patient's area, containing the risk of infection and allowing the rest of the ward to stay open. This makes Pelican Ward one of the only lockdown isolation units of its kind in the UK.

Meet Alec, age eight

Alec has been a patient at GOSH since May 2017. Last summer he spent a month on one of the older wards, as doctors raced to diagnose him with TRAPS, an incredibly rare disease that causes pain in his joints and muscles.

Alec was clearly excited to visit Pelican for the first time: "I could explode! The playroom is five times bigger than the other playroom.”

His mum, Katie, also spotted the difference: "The new ward is just fantastic. It’s modern, brilliant, magical. It’s more spacious for children. The playroom is literally ten times bigger, so Alec won’t get bored. And it’s been great for parents because you can have five or ten minutes to yourself while they’re in the playroom. It takes a lot of stress off.”

"The contrast between the old ward and this ward is like night and day"

Every day, 53 children undergo life-changing operations at GOSH. Some stay on Panther Ward, a new specialist inpatient ward for children who need surgery on their airway, jaw, nose, ears or mouth; plastic or reconstructive surgery including cleft lip and palate; or urinary system surgery.

Together with Bear Ward in the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building, Level 6 of the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre forms a 48-bed inpatient unit with expertise in post-surgical care.

Meet Dr Richard Hewitt, Consultant Surgeon

Dr Richard Hewitt is a Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat, and Tracheal Surgeon. He has seen the effect the extra space can have on a patient's hospital experience.

“The contrast between the old ward and this ward is like night and day. It’s fantastic. I feel privileged to have been part of the regeneration of the hospital, which from my point of view started when the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building opened in 2012. The Premier Inn Clinical Building has very much modelled itself on that style, which is great because we already know these new facilities have a massive clinical impact.

“We compared patients on old wards with those in the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building – which opened in 2012 – and found that the new facilities reduced patient-stay time by 2.4 days per patient. This fits in with global research that shows less stressed children, with less stressed families, recover more quickly.

“After airway surgery, we need to keep a close eye on patients. The four-bedded bays and cubicles here have windows so a nurse can have sight of multiple patients at once. It’s like having one-to-one monitoring of each child, all the time. That’s key because problems can happen quickly.

“Already there is a huge appreciation among staff for the new workspace: the air conditioning, the lighter environment, the happier patients, space to move. Staff and parents used to really struggle with storage, but that’s just not a problem anymore.”

"It’s such a welcoming, open space. As crazy as it sounds, we love it here at GOSH”

Chameleon Ward, Surgery

Chameleon Ward is the new home of the hospital’s Specialist Neonatal and Paediatric Surgery (SNAPS) team. SNAPS cares for children who need surgery on their gastrointestinal tract, diaphragm or abdominal wall.

SNAPS surgeons are experts in keyhole operations, performed through a tiny incision rather than open surgery. The waiting list for keyhole surgery is long, but thanks to Chameleon Ward and new theatres on Level 3 of the Premier Inn Clinical Building, the hospital is able to treat even more of these children and reduce waiting times.

Meet Rea, age one

When Rea was born, doctors discovered that her oesophagus and windpipe had not developed as they should. She came to GOSH in 2017 for an operation and still visits regularly with her mum, Lisa, from their home in South Wales.

Lisa says: “We’ve been on other wards at GOSH and they were lovely. But Chameleon Ward is amazing. It’s so spacious. When we got here I thought it was so big that I asked for a tour! We always bring the buggy and bags and toys, and now I feel like I can spread out a bit more than I used to. That’s so nice, especially with a little one-year-old running around.

“Having the toilet and bathroom facilities, play room and kitchen close by is great. It’s such a welcoming, open space. As crazy as it sounds, we love it here at GOSH.”

Possum Ward, Neurosciences

Possum Ward will support children with conditions that affect the head, face or brain, including severe epilepsy and brain tumours.

In the last five years the number of children treated for neurology conditions at GOSH has increased by 32%, to more than 5,000 children a year. Possum Ward will add eight new beds, helping the hospital to keep up with this demand and treat more children.

The new ward will sit alongside Koala Ward on Level 5 of the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building. Together, these wards will concentrate the hospital’s neurological expertise across one floor, making sure children have easy access to the facilities and care they need.

Meet Dr Kristian Aquilina, Consultant Neurosurgeon

“Over the last five years, the number of children we operate on in the Neurosurgical department has increased significantly. The main difficulty has been not having enough beds – despite the increase in our activity, we have only had twelve beds throughout this period.

“The new beds on Possum Ward will relieve this problem to some extent, and help us to use our other resources more efficiently. I’m really looking forward to seeing the new ward and how it will benefit our patients.”

"No-one treats being here as just a job. The medical staff are so empathetic"

A specialist cardiac ward with intensive care facilities, Alligator Ward cares for some of the hospital’s most seriously ill patients. These children may need close monitoring or breathing support for conditions affecting the heart, lungs and airways.

GOSH is the largest centre for child heart surgery in the UK, and one of the largest heart transplant centres for children in the world.

Alligator Ward provides extra capacity for these patients, reducing waiting lists and getting more children the vital treatment they urgently need. By seeing more children with serious heart conditions, clinicians and researchers at GOSH will have more opportunities for research, driving forward innovative treatments and pioneering new devices that could save lives.

Meet Phoebe, age one

A few hours after Phoebe was born in 2016, she was diagnosed with a heart condition. Five days later, she had life-saving surgery at GOSH and was cared for in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) on Flamingo Ward.

Phoebe's mum, Chloe, says: “When you arrive at CICU it’s so daunting. Yet after a few weeks of being here, with the reassurance we had from the excellent team looking after Phoebe, we actually find ourselves feeling at peace when we walk through the doors.

“It’s clear that no-one treats being here as just a job. All the medical staff are so personable and empathetic. Everyone makes the time to ask how we are and how our son is, as well as Phoebe. It does feel like an extended family. In some ways it will be sad to leave CICU, and that’s something we never thought we’d say.”

"It’s lovely to follow families all the way through their journey"

This specialist day-case unit is an exciting new addition to GOSH. For the first time, children undergoing minor procedures involving anaesthetic receive their pre-anaesthetic and post-anaesthetic care in the same place. As well as keeping relevant medical expertise together, this helps to create a smoother hospital journey for patients and their families.

Children on the unit may be scheduled in for a scan to help diagnose their condition, or a minor keyhole operation that does not require an overnight stay in hospital. Patients arrive on Nightingale, have their procedure under anaesthetic in one of the hospital’s theatres, return to Nightingale to recover and then go home the same day.

Meet Rhys, age 17

Rhys was one of the very first patients to be treated on Nightingale Unit after a surgical procedure. Rhys, who has a neuromuscular condition, has been a patient at GOSH since he was a baby.

The family has seen lots of changes at the hospital. Rhys’ mum, Vicky, says: “The facilities are marvellous, we can’t fault them. It’s wonderful to be able to have an en-suite.”

Moving into a new building

Vicki Dhanda, Staff Nurse on Nightingale spoke about the move into the new building.

“On my first day, I admitted a patient in the morning before their operation, saw them afterwards, then discharged them in the afternoon. That would never have happened before, because they’d be seen by different people.

"It’s lovely to follow families all the way through their journey, because then the child recognises you and becomes more comfortable and less anxious."

Like Dr Hewitt from Panther Ward, Vicki has already noticed that the new ward not only provides a pleasant environment to live in, it also helps clinical staff to perform their jobs more effectively.

“The open bay area is great for patients who are recovering from their procedure, because we’ve got a nurse’s station immediately opposite. When a patient has come out of theatre, you want to monitor them closely at all times – to have eye contact with them, see them, hear them. There is loads of space in the new bay area, so we can prioritise the poorliest patients and put them closest to the nurse’s station."

"We have a place that will be child friendly, accessible and comfortable. I’m so grateful"

Children who need long-term breathing support are cared for on Kangaroo Ward, where they may stay for many months. It is designed to make children and families feel as comfortable as possible.

During their long-term stay, families, GOSH staff and local authorities work together to plan how the child will be looked after when they leave the hospital. This may involve preparing family members to take care of a child’s tracheostomy – a tube inserted into the windpipe – and ventilator care at home.

Meet Anaiah-Grace, age two

For nearly a year, Anaiah and her mum have lived in one of the oldest parts of the hospital.

Faith, her mum, is looking forward to the difference the new ward will make: "It’s basically home for a long time, so space is a real issue. The new ward will be so much better. It’s such a great thing to know that we have a place that will be child friendly, accessible and comfortable. I’m so grateful.

“When Anaiah-Grace is on a ventilator, she can use a special portable unit that means we can go outside. But when she’s unwell, the time she’s allowed away from the ward is limited. Factoring in the lifts and other delays, I’ve spent a good 30 minutes just getting her from the ward to the front door. The new ward will make a massive difference because it’s on the ground floor, so I can go straight out with her and she can have more time outside.”

"Walking into this is amazing. It's a massive difference"

As part of a specialist respiratory unit, Leopard Ward cares for children who have problems with their lungs and breathing, including cystic fibrosis and complex asthma.

Because children with cystic fibrosis have a high risk of passing on or contracting infections, the ward’s en-suite facilities have been designed to reduce this risk by providing everything a child needs within their room.

Meet Scarlett, age six

Scarlett has cystic fibrosis, a lung condition that also affects her pancreas. She and her family have been coming to GOSH for nearly six years, since Scarlett was just five weeks old.

Scarlett’s nan, Kerry, says: “I thought the old ward was fine, we were grateful for it. But walking into this is amazing.

"It’s a massive difference. It’s more comfortable, there’s the storage space, the little private space for parents, the size of the room, the play room. I thought it would be nice, but not as nice as this! It’ll make a massive difference to patients like Scarlett. It’s just amazing.”

Thank you

The completion of the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre is only possible because of the thousands of gifts to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, including those from Aditya and Megha Mittal and family, Premier Inn and Restaurants, and everyone up and down the country – whether you held a bake sale, bucket collection or ran a 5k race.

Together you raised the vital funds to open this new building and make a huge difference to seriously ill children from across the UK.

Thank you to all of our donors.

Explore the new centre with our immersive virtual reality.