Reflecting back on 2021 at Sheffield Children's!

In its 145-year history, 2021 must rank of one of the most memorable for Sheffield Children’s.

Today, we take you in an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Sheffield Children’s, as dedicated people working there bring the festive fun of Christmas to young patients and their families. It rounds off a year in which the generosity of the local community will be felt for generations to come.

Last year children attended more than 195,000 outpatient appointments either face-to-face or virtually, and there were more than 17,000 inpatient stays, but it’s not just hospital care at Sheffield Children’s.

In 2020/21, more than 26,000 children and young people were seen for community mental health appointments, 321 research studies were conducted and 1,650 transfers were made through the Embrace Ambulance Service.

From intensive emergency care through to support for families in the community and at home – supporting both the mental health and physical health of children and young people; Sheffield Children’s is unique.

The past year has seen innovation across the Trust from the introduction of the one-off gene therapy drug Zolgensma for patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy – generating headlines around the world as the most expensive ever drug to the UK’s first Child Health Technology Conference and the world’s first paediatric patient with scar-less acid reflux procedure.

The Trust’s Green Plan was launched, the seeds of a forest have been planted at the Becton Centre and colleagues across the Trust have signed up to energy promises to reduce the carbon footprint.

Colleagues have been celebrated through the Trust’s own Star Awards, as well as receiving national recognition. The Executive Director of Nursing and Quality, Professor Sally Shearer, received an OBE, Nurse Adele Hague received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work setting up the COVID swabbing and testing service and the Trust’s work on sustainability has been shortlisted for two national awards.

Patients and their families have shared their experiences of care, praising the compassion of people working at Sheffield Children’s and the outstanding care they gave. From a trip to the Emergency Department to stays on the ward and long-term rehabilitation from cancer treatment from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and further afield.

To enable Sheffield Children’s to go above and beyond NHS provision, the Trust depends on the generosity of the community. Thanks to the support of the public, after a three-year appeal The Children’s Hospital Charity successfully completed the fundraising for a new £2.75M Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s in October.

The new ward is bigger and brighter, with improved spaces for parents to stay with their children and a dedicated playroom at the heart of the ward for everyone to enjoy.

Over £750,000 of the total was raised by this summer’s Bears of Sheffield sculpture trail. Bringing together families and friends, businesses, schools and artists, 161 of the distinctive animals were on display brightening public places across the city this summer.

The next strand of The Children’s Hospital Charity’s mission to transform Sheffield Children’s will see focus turn to the hospital’s Major Trauma Centre, with fundraising well underway for a new on-site Helipad and a redeveloped Emergency Department.

Once again, supporters rallied to help and through a daily online vote, the Charity won £100,000 from Persimmon Homes in November towards a new Helipad. Over 450 decorations then brightened up eight sites across the region this month in the beloved snowflake appeal, seeing a record-breaking £332,000 pledged.

It means that the Charity have now raised more than half of the Helipad’s £6m cost and now hope to complete the fundraising in 2022.

This year has also seen new leadership at both Sheffield Children’s and the Charity, with Ruth Brown becoming Sheffield Children’s Chief Executive – the first woman to take the role in the Trust’s 145-year history - and John Armstrong becoming Charity CEO in July.

Ruth Brown said: “2021 has been another incredible year for Sheffield Children’s. We are a very special Trust full of extraordinary colleagues, volunteers, patients, families, and supporters, and together we have achieved so much this year.

“I’m excited to start a new chapter in our history and will continue to work hard to create a compassionate and inclusive organisation that puts children and young people at the heart of all we do. I look forward to developing our relationships with patients, families and partner organisations further.”

John Armstrong added: “In my first few months here at The Children’s Hospital Charity, we have achieved so much for patients and families at Sheffield Children’s thanks to the amazing support of our local community.

“We have seen the Bears of Sheffield capture the hearts and imagination of the city, completing our fundraising appeal for a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward which is now open to patients. We’ve seen the daily votes of our supporters win £100,000 towards a new Helipad and despite some of the most challenging circumstances, we saw a record amount pledged for our snowflake appeal this Christmas too.

“It is a tremendous honour and privilege to represent a cause which, in its support of Sheffield Children’s, means so much to so many. I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings as we strive together to give every single child outstanding care in excellent facilities.”