PARENTS and staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital welcomed the announcement of a new £30 million expansion - but urged bosses to ensure the site’s long-standing parking problems are solved during the redevelopment.
Six architects competing to design the new wing have been asked to come up with a new parking solution to go with the three-storey extension.
But they face a tough challenge as the hospital sits on a cramped site surrounded by university buildings, narrow streets, and the Royal Hallamshire, Weston Park and Charles Clifford hospitals.
Caroline Francis-Burnett, aged 39, is a regular visitor to the Children’s Hospital, where her 11-year-old son Jack has undergone seven operations this year.
Caroline, who was visiting the hospital’s day care ward with Jack yesterday, told The Star: “It is fantastic news they are going to have more space.
“But they need to make sure the parking is sorted. It is the biggest issue with coming here.
“Once I even missed an appointment because I spent so long looking for a space.”
Caroline, a retail assistant from Stainforth, Doncaster, now always brings her mum Marilyn Slingsby with her when she takes Jack for an appointment.
She said: “I find somewhere to park while my mum brings him in.”
Staff members echoed Caroline’s concerns.
Hospital receptionist Julie Day said: “When families arrive here they are often worried about being late because of the parking problems.
“It is an extra stress they really don’t need at that time, so I hope the architects sort it out. But in general the new wing will be great for us.”
Hospital waiting list co-ordinator Judith Watson added: “Lack of space here is a real issue, so this is great news. The new building is going to be fantastic and we will make great use of the extra room.
“We do have a real problem with parking, so I hope they can solve it.”
Cheryl Shawcroft, 20, mum to 21-month-old Scarlett, said: “It’s a good idea to expand - although it does mean more corridors to get lost in!
“Scarlett has spent some time on the wards, and they are okay, but to have more space sounds a good thing.
“I think having more single bedrooms would be a good idea, especially for teenagers. As they get older they do need their own space.”
Sarah Welsby, sister at the hospital’s day care unit, said: “Hopefully this will mean we are closer to the surgical theatres.
“We are really busy most days, so the extra room would be very welcome.”
Cat Powell, the Children’s Hospital Charity’s arts for health co-ordinator, said: “At the moment we are working in quite an old space, so this is fantastic news.
“I’m hoping we will be creating a wonderful new space for our patients.
“We want to make this new wing as inspirational and interactional as possible, so people’s experience of coming to hospital is as pleasant as it can be.”