Sheffield Children’s Hospital's 147th birthday: From 29 inpatients to 10,000 a year and now 'world leaders'

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"It is an institution held with such pride and affection in communities across our region and beyond"

Sheffield Children’s Hospital, one of Sheffield’s longest-standing institutions and one of only three dedicated children’s trusts in the UK, is celebrating its 147th birthday today (November 15).

It opened for the first time on Brook Hill, not far from the current Western Bank site, on November 15, 1876, with a rent of £63 per year.

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In its first year, the hospital saw just 29 inpatient admissions, which has grown exponentially to 10,214 in 2022/23.

A young girl hugs mascot Theo after a scan at Sheffield Children's HospitalA young girl hugs mascot Theo after a scan at Sheffield Children's Hospital
A young girl hugs mascot Theo after a scan at Sheffield Children's Hospital | SCH

In the decades to follow, it installed its first X-ray machine and electric lights (1907), operating theatres, and radiators to replace open fires (1920s). 

Ruth Brown, Chief Executive of Sheffield Children’s, said: "Happy Birthday to Sheffield Children’s! I’m incredibly proud to work here alongside amazing colleagues who continue to make a difference to the lives of children and young people.

"For 147 years we’ve provided specialist and leading care for children and young people – although we’ve definitely grown from our humble beginnings on Brook Hill."

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The hospital, pictured in 1880.The hospital, pictured in 1880.
The hospital, pictured in 1880. | Sheffield Children's Hospital

Sheffield Children’s predates the NHS, which has provided its services since its inception in 1948.

The hospital also provides mental healthcare to children and young people, and has had over 26,000 contacts with patients in the last year both in its specialist Becton Centre and out in the community.

It also conducted 341 research studies in the last year, thanks to the support of 1,544 patients, colleagues and volunteers.

Ruth added: "Our international research is developing new ways to care for families, and we’re investing in new technology and digital systems which will improve how we’re able to provide care, and our data security – which is becoming increasingly important.

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"We’re also taking steps to place Sheffield Children’s as a leader in paediatric healthcare with our key role in the creation of the National Centre for Child Health Technology."

The centre will "bring together healthcare, academia and the private sector to drive innovation and better care” to “not only help children and young people in our region, but across the world".

Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe ,on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium, will be home to a new world-first NHS children's health research centreSheffield Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe ,on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium, will be home to a new world-first NHS children's health research centre
Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe ,on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium, will be home to a new world-first NHS children's health research centre

The Children’s Hospital Charity, which was formed exactly 100 years after the hospital began, is currently working towards fundraising £2m towards the centre.

Earlier this year, it reached its £6m target to construct a helipad on the roof of the Stephenson Building, to make sure children and young people can access emergency care with dignity, as safely and as soon as possible. 

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John Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: "It is a great privilege, at the Charity, to be able to support the patients, families and staff at Sheffield Children’s as the hospital heads into its 148th year. 

"It is an institution held with such pride and affection in communities across our region and beyond."

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