OPINION: Sheffield leads the way in medical care for children

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You can’t put a price on a child’s life, as Mr Hesham Zaki, head of paediatric neurosurgery says so eloquently in today’s feature about the latest development at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

He is absolutely right of course.


Sheffield widow leaves £854,000 to city’s Children’s Hospital

Sheffield Children’s Hospital has world’s best brain tumour fighting facility

But the very best treatment to treat very sick children costs money, lots of money.

Sheffield, and South Yorkshire, is very lucky in that our generous community digs deep in support of many good causes, including the children’s hospital. This generosity has mean that the children’s hospital has ensured that the hospital has taken delivery of the very latest state of the art kit to reinforce its position as one of the world’s leading centres for the treatment of children. Some £3.2m has been raised by local people for the hospital charity, including a bequest of almost £1m from one elderly resident alone.

Betty Alsop, of Crosspool, died at the age of 87 without children or surving relatives. Her legacy included the donation of £854,2273 to the hospital, along with bequests to Macmillan , the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the NSPCC and Edale Mountain Rescue Team.

It is quite some legacy; Betty’s charitable act is likely to save the lives of countless children from South Yorkshire, and further afield,

It is very easy, particularly nowadays when the world is a small place and the web makes searching and comparing facilities very easy, to assume that to get the very best treatment known to the medical world you have to travel to the other side of the world. Not so; the very best is right here on our doorstep.

This latest £8m investment brings the very latest technology to the city. As Mr Zaki explains, the two new operating theatres with the advanced MRI scanner linked up to a theatre means that surgeons will find it much easier to remove all of a brain tumour, which increases the survival rate of these very poorly children to 80 per cent, much better odds than when some of the tumour is left behind. His layman-friendly explanation - the scanner allows a map of the brain to be created rather like using a tomtom satnav system - clarifies exactly what the benefit is.

The technology is amazing - and it’s right here , on the much-maligned NHS, in Sheffield.

Having a sick child is a terrifying experience for the whole family; understanding that we have a world-leading facility eases some of the worry.Our children are in very good hands.

Of course, the children’s hospital is not the only top notch health establishment in Sheffield- take a bow all our leading teaching hospitals and highly ranked GP services.