Newham University Hospital’s children’s ward reopens after £6.8m refurbishment

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 February 2017

Staff at the Rainbow Centre

Staff at the Rainbow Centre


With more than 20,000 young people attending the accident and emergency department at Newham University Hospital last year, having somewhere suitable to admit children to was vital.

Silvia Perciballi and Henrietta Osei Boteng in the reception of the new Rainbow CentreSilvia Perciballi and Henrietta Osei Boteng in the reception of the new Rainbow Centre

Now, after a £6.8milliom makeover, the hospital has officially opened its new Rainbow Centre, designed to make the experience for children and their families as pleasant as possible.

Work on the centre began in September 2015 and although staff began operating out of it on Sunday, February 12, there are still areas to be finished.

Dr Akwasi Osei-Yeboah said he was pleased with the layout of the new Rainbow Centre.

“Before, we had three separate areas, inpatients, outpatients and daycare,” he said.

The ward is full of colourful artworkThe ward is full of colourful artwork

“Now we’ve got it all linked together, which makes it easier for parents and for staff.”

The centre has a total of 22 inpatient beds, including seven individual rooms for patients, each with an en-suite and a shower.

There is also a stabilisation unit, which can take two patients who have either just returned from intensive care or are waiting to be transferred yet.

A designated parents’ room has been created to allow those staying with their children to make a hot drink or take time out for a few minutes if necessary.

It also includes an outdoor areaIt also includes an outdoor area

This is positioned opposite a children’s play room, where young patients and siblings alike can enjoy a variety of toys.

Further along the corridor, an adolescent room has been set up.

Hawa Choudhury, the Rainbow Centre’s project manager, said: “We wanted somewhere for patients who were a bit old for teddies.

“There’s somewhere for children and somewhere for adults, but we hadn’t got anywhere for those in between.”

The ward's stabilisation unitThe ward's stabilisation unit

As well as a play room, the Rainbow Centre also benefits from an outdoor area.

“We’ve got a shelter which can make animal noises, which can be used for storytelling,” said senior nurse Sherry Manning

“There’s also a shed which is used to store buggies so they’re out of the way.”

Children were involved in the development progress, including being consulted on their favourite colours to guide the artwork.

Yaqoub Hussein, two, in the play roomYaqoub Hussein, two, in the play room

“The artist, Morag Myserscough, has done an amazing job,” Hawa said.

“We’re going to listen to feedback and let the patients get involved, for example with artwork for the adolescent room.”

Nine-year-old Samra Abakar, from Barking, was one of the first patients to be admitted as an inpatient at the new Rainbow Centre with a kidney infection.

She had been admitted to the old ward two years ago and her mum Rahima Abukar said things had improved.

Andy Roberts and senior nurse Sherry ManningAndy Roberts and senior nurse Sherry Manning

“It’s so much better than it was before,” she said.

“It’s an improvement and it’s much more flexible.”

Chris Pocklington, managing director of the Glen Road, Plaistow hospital, said: “I am delighted that we are now caring for children in our brand new Rainbow Centre.

“Thanks to the hard work of staff and generosity of Barts Charity, the impressive new facilities will vastly improve the experience and health outcomes of local children.”

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