The Duchess of Cornwall is joining thousands of Southampton families in their efforts to help a Daily Echo-backed campaign which will transform children’s cancer services for generations to come. The Duchess of Cornwall will unveil the £1.7 million extension and refurbishment of the flagship children’s cancer centre, which is set to provide care for hundreds of children in the region.
Her Royal Highness will be welcomed by the families in the newly refurbished Piam Brown children’s ward in Southampton General Hospital today. The Daily Echo scheme was launched as a £1.13 million refurbishment by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which was later extended to include an extra £550,000 through a fundraising drive led by Southampton Hospital Charity. The last £150,000 was raised with the ‘Final Push for Piam Brown’ campaign.
The Duchess of Cornwall will meet patients, families, nurses and fundraisers while touring the new wards. The improvements include a new bathroom, eight single bed with en suites, a brand new waiting area, kitchen, toilet and wet room for the parents, new consultation rooms and quiet rooms. The number of beds was raised from 10 to 12.
The centre is just one of only 20 specialist children’s cancer units in the UK and sees over 120 new patients a year. It was first opened in 1988. It has since developed into a national and European centre of excellence for neuroblastoma and the development of immunotherapy treatments. The addition of the new beds will create an opportunity for the centre to take part in more clinical studies and more children from outside of the region will be able to come to the hospital for new innovative treatments, which are not available in other centres.
The Duchess of Cornwall will tour the consulting rooms, the clinic, the day ward and the teenage games room. Afterwards, she will attend a reception with the staff and patients, where she will also unveil a plaque to commemorate the opening. She will then be presented with a framed painting made by Alisia Coles, who won a children’s painting competition judged by Alan Titchmarsh.