Plans for £20m children’s health research centre to be built in Sheffield

Proposals for a £20 million research centre in Sheffield aimed at developing technology to treat and prevent long-term health conditions in children are gathering momentum – and those behind the project are taking their case to Westminster.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 1:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 5:07 pm
Images of how the CCHT is proposed to look

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has been working on the plan for three years with the support of both of the city’s universities, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and private sector partners.

If approved, Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park – on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium – will become home to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Centre for Child Health Technology (CCHT), billed as the most advanced and largest child health technology centre in the world.

Backers say it will support 3,485 full-time equivalent jobs, 318 ‘higher value professional’ roles and 1,000 posts in construction.

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The draft master plan for the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Former sports minister and Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park project lead Richard Caborn has written to the health secretary Matt Hancock and other senior decision makers seeking support.

Ministers, MPs and Whitehall officials have also been invited to a House of Commons briefing hosted by Clive Betts MP later this month.

Mr Caborn said investing in the centre, and child health technology generally, makes ‘economic sense’ for the Sheffield City Region and the country.

“Building of the centre could be completed within two years, as we have seen with the adjacent Advanced Wellbeing and Research Centre,” he said.

“Every £1 invested in child health returns more than £10 to society over a lifetime. So, a £20m investment to develop the CCHT has the potential to return more than £200m to the NHS in the future.

“It means that once again Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park will be in the spotlight delivering improvements in public health and wellbeing as part of its tangible legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

At the CCHT, research will cover long term-conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy, and will help reduce deaths in children; prevent complications that arise from premature birth and childhood disease; and reduce unnecessary hospital appointments and admissions to allow children with long-term conditions to attend school properly.

Global industry leaders such as IBM, Philips and Canon Medical have already expressed support for the scheme, which comes as the Government embarks on plans to invest in new hospitals and health facilities.

Professor Paul Dimitri, consultant in paediatric endocrinology at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “Children truly matter. Sheffield Children’s Hospital has networks to provide foundation and expertise to accelerate adoption of technologies developed at CCHT and provide a valuable offering to the private sector to rapidly drive child health technology in the NHS.

“Through collaboration and a wealth of commercial opportunities, the CCHT will advance healthcare and provide the platform for the UK to become a world leader in child health technology.”