Construction to begin on a new House in Oxford
31 October 2018
We are very excited to announce that construction of a new 62-bedroom Ronald McDonald House will start in December 2018 with a view to opening in summer 2020. The Ronald McDonald House will provide free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families whose children are undergoing treatment at Oxford Children’s Hospital, as well as Children’s Critical Care and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the John Radcliffe Hospital site.
In 2007, we opened a 17-bedroom House on the top floor of Oxford Children’s Hospital. However, demand for rooms far exceeds the number of families who would like to use the facility, particularly with the need to extend the provision of service to support families of babies who are being treated in NICU and Critical Care.
Planning permission has been granted for a new standalone building to be constructed on the John Radcliffe site, just a few minutes’ walk from the hospital.
The new House will be purpose-built with more than three times as many bedrooms as the existing facility and so many more families will be able to use it. With ensuite bedrooms and communal living facilities, including kitchens, lounges, playrooms, a laundry room and garden, it will be a true ‘home away from home’ for many more families who would otherwise have to travel from increasing distances at a time of stress and anxiety. It is free and families can stay as long as they need.
The number of children attending Oxford University Hospital has doubled over the last 15 years with an annual increase of between 400-500 children being treated. Because it is a regional centre of excellence, children from a wide geographical area are treated in Oxford and so many families face long travel times unless they can stay locally.
The cost of the new House is more than £14 million. We've been busy raising £11.5 million to fund the construction of the House, and Oxford Hospitals Charity is kindly contributing the remaining £2.5 million, much of which has been raised through the Oxford Children’s Hospital 10th Anniversary Appeal thanks to the generous response from the public and the Oxford media. The Trust has donated use of the land free of charge.
Dr Karen Steinhardt, Clinical Director of Children’s Services at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We’re seeing more children having to travel ever greater distances for medical treatment. Some are with us for as little as a day, while others stay for many months. This new Ronald McDonald House will provide much-needed support and enhance our family-centred care. I am sure it will prove very popular with families.
“This new House will mean more than triple the number of families who can be near their children when they most need them. It will provide a welcoming and nurturing environment to help families to best support their children.”
Jon Haward, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities, said:
“The John Radcliffe Hospital is well recognised as a major centre of child healthcare. Increasingly it is receiving children and their families from all over the UK, including Northern Ireland, to receive vital care.
“We undertook research here in Oxford and, together with international evidence, found that close family involvement in the hospital care of their children not only improves outcomes for the patient but is also beneficial to the physical and mental health of families including siblings. Comfortable, supportive accommodation close to the ward is a key enabler in this process.
“Having a sick child can affect families across all areas of their lives, and even basic needs like shelter, food and sleep can become major worries as they struggle to stay near their sick child while keeping everything else afloat. We provide the care and support to ease their strain and keep a sense of normality.
“We now look forward to seeing our new Ronald McDonald House in Oxford become reality and more sick children being able to have their families nearby when in hospital.”
Douglas Graham, CEO of Oxford Hospitals Charity said:
“We know the huge positive impact this new house will have for so many families at the most difficult of times. So we have been delighted to work in partnership with our friends at Ronald McDonald House Charities and are incredibly grateful to all those who supported our fundraising efforts towards the new accommodation.”
We opened our existing 17 bedroom Ronald McDonald House at the Hospital in 2007 and it's looked after thousands of families in that time, such as the Meir family and Sharafat-Wahid family.
“I live in High Wycombe and my son has been desperately ill in hospital for the last nine weeks. I have been travelling to the hospital every day because he really needs me by his side. At times I have been so tired I have been scared I would fall asleep at the wheel. When I was told I could stay in the Ronald McDonald House it was a huge relief. It has completely transformed things for me; the support and care is just wonderful I don’t know how I would of coped without it. It’s amazing to hear that a new bigger House is coming so that more families can benefit like I am.” Jane Meir, mum to teenager Nathan who is currently in intensive care.
“It means such a lot to be able stay close by. My wife needs me here at the hospital. My babies need me here too. So if the House wasn’t here I really don’t know what I would do. We have spent time in both the Oxford and Southampton Ronald McDonald Houses because our babies are receiving heart treatment at both hospitals and one of the things you realise is how important the community in them is. The families really support each other and the staff are brilliant. The new bigger house in Oxford will have more of these really important communal areas as well as being able to help more families like us, which is really important.” Mohammed Sharafat, dad to 12 week old twins, Hussain and Hassan Wahid, who both have cardiac conditions.
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