New ward will mean so much to brave Niamh

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Five-year-old Niamh Curry has stage four high risk neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.

After exhausting their treatment options here in the UK, the family wants to go to America for more advanced treatment and are currently fundraising for the £450,000 it will cost for Niamh to have the treatment.

In the meantime, Niamh, from Wellingborough, needs regular blood and platelet transfusions as well as scans and general hospital visits.

This means spending lots of time in hospital, including the Dolphin children’s ward at Kettering General Hospital.

Work is currently under way on a new children’s unit at Kettering, which will provide state-of-the-art facilities for the 5,400 children and young people treated there every year.

The new paediatric floor, which has been named the Skylark ward, will replace the old Dolphin and Timpson (surgical) wards and will have 32 beds and include medical and surgical wards, a paediatric assessment unit and high monitoring facilities.

The Skylark ward will feature 18 large single rooms and much more space in the bays for parents to sleep by their child’s bedside.

Niamh’s dad Chris said: “Unfortunately due to Niamh’s illness we have spent a lot of time on the children’s wards at Kettering General Hospital and to be honest the present wards are very small, tired-looking and in desperate need of repair.

“I think it will be great for the children, parents and staff to experience a new state-of-the-art ward to help enhance the comfort and care already received by patients at Kettering.”

The Skylark ward with have an ‘above the treetops’ theme with flying birds, trees and hot-air balloons painted throughout on the walls and ceiling.

There will also be LED skylights in the paediatric assessment unit and in the reception area which will show moving images of clouds.

The Skylark ward will be on the top floor of the hospital’s new £30m wing, will be called the Foundation wing reflecting the hospital’s successful application to become a foundation trust.

On the ground floor there will be a paediatric outpatients department with six consulting rooms and a new 28-bed adult ward called Oakley ward, to fit in with the hospital’s existing ward name theme of villages.

The wing will also house a state-of-the art 16-bed intensive care unit and isolation rooms on its first floor.

The hospital’s director of strategy and partnership Mike Smeeton said: “We are now in the final stage of fitting out the wing and that includes things like fitting reception desks, designing entrances and signage and completing the fitting and decoration of wards and non-clinical areas.

“The Foundation wing will be a major improvement to Kettering General Hospital and a great benefit for the thousands of patients who will need to use it each year.”

NIAMH’S NEXT STEP