Alder Hey Children's Hospital

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Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust
Location Eaton Road, Liverpool, L12 2AP
Coordinates 53°25′14″N 2°53′48″W / 53.42053°N 2.89677°W / 53.42053; -2.89677Coordinates: 53°25′14″N 2°53′48″W / 53.42053°N 2.89677°W / 53.42053; -2.89677
Care system NHS
Hospital type Specialist
Affiliated university University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University
Emergency department Yes Accident & Emergency; Children's Major Trauma Centre
Beds 309 [1]
Speciality Children's hospital
Founded 1914

Alder Hey Children's Hospital is a major national children's hospital and NHS foundation trust located in the suburb of West Derby; in the city of Liverpool, England. It is one of the largest children's hospitals in the United Kingdom and Europe, and one of several specialist hospitals located within the Liverpool City Region; alongside the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, The Walton Centre, and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.


The hospital was founded in 1914 and is one of the largest children's hospitals in Europe.

During the First World War, the United States Army established Camp Hospital 40 on the site, operated by Hospital Unit Q and, subsequently, Unit W. American sources commonly refer to Alder Hey as being within Liverpool's Knotty Ash area.

The hospital became an NHS hospital trust in 1991. It currently employs about 2,400 staff and treats over 270,000 children from across the UK each year. [2]

In August 2008 the Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust became an NHS foundation trust and changed its name.[3]

Between 2010 and 2014 the number of doctors employed at the trust has gone up from 269 to 344, while the number of managers is down from 70 to 86.[4]

Alder Hey in the Park[edit]

2014 was Alder Hey's centenary year and the last operating from the buildings on its original site. A new Alder Hey hospital was built in neighbouring Springfield Park in a £237 million pound scheme. The new hospital began construction on 26 March 2013, and opened in October 2015 as Alder Hey in the Park.[5] It was constructed using the Private Finance Initiative. The PFI company is jointly owned by Interserve, the John Laing Group and Laing O'Rourke. it borrowed £100 million from M&G Investments and the European Investment Bank at 4.9% and 4.1%. Laing O'Rourke constructed the building at a cost of £162 million.[6]

It is Europe's only children's hospital built in a park. The original Alder Hey buildings will mostly be demolished and the land reclaimed as new parkland for the surrounding community.

Features of the new hospital include:

  • 75% of beds will be single, en-suite rooms with beds for parents
  • Access to play areas, natural light and striking views of the park are available wherever possible
  • Children, young people and teenagers will have dedicated areas to play and relax
  • An emphasis on next generation technology will improve healthcare - from patient entertainment systems to keeping patient records and dispensing medicines by robot
  • It is one of the most environmentally friendly hospitals in the world

Children and young people were involved with the design of the new hospital. A drawing of a flower by teenage patient Eleanor Brogan impressed architects and inspired their final design.



The hospital is a centre of excellence for Oncology and Muscular Dystrophy as well as spinal, heart and brain conditions.

Alder Hey was also the first UK Centre of Excellence for Childhood Lupus and is:

Alder Hey has Europe’s first 3T Intraoperative MRI scanner which is a pioneering technology for neurosurgery, providing surgeons with extremely high resolution images and reducing the need for repeat operations in 90% of cases. [8]


Alder Hey conducts paediatric research into children’s medicines, infection, inflammation and oncology. It has research partners including the University of Liverpool and is a member of Liverpool Health Partners.[9]

The first phase of a bespoke research, education and innovation centre, Institute in the Park, has been built next to Alder Hey in the Park.

Alder Hey conducts more than 100 clinical research studies on an ongoing basis, ranging from observation to clinical trials. The hospital is within the NHS National Institute for Health Research's Top 100 Performing Trust's for participation recruitment in 2013/14.[10][11]

Alder Hey was a finalist in the Clinical Research Impact category of the 2013 HSJ Awards.[12]

In November 2015, the Institute in the Park hosted a children's health Hackathon in conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Alder Hey Children’s Charity supports the work of the hospital. In addition to NHS funding which covers the running costs of the hospital, Alder Hey relies on charitable support. Funds are spent directly on initiatives in the hospital to benefit patients. It funds research initiatives, patient and family enhancements and state of the art medical equipment.

Known as the 'Imagine Appeal' until 2012, Alder Hey Children's Charity is based within the hospital. On 14 October 2013 the charity launched a public appeal to raise £30m to fund equipment, facilities and research at Alder Hey's new hospital, Alder Hey in the Park.[13]

In October 2015 the charity announced over £20m had been raised.[14]

Alder Hey has numerous notable supporters,[15] including Yoko Ono as Honorary Patron, Steven Gerrard as Appeal Founding Partner and Patrons including:

In 2009 charitable support allowed Alder Hey to buy Europe's first 3T Intraoperative MRI scanner.[16]

In one charitably funded project, the sound recordist and musician Chris Watson was employed to devise an art project, using bird song recordings made by children to calm other young patients as they received injections and other treatments.[17][18]

In 1978, the charity Art For Their Sake,[19] a team of volunteer artists led by founder George Nicholas (now of Ormskirk, England), produced the world's longest mural in the corridors of Alder Hey Children's Hospital. A Guinness Record was set with a total of 17,963 square feet of murals, and awarded to the hospital in 1986. Nicholas and his team continued to work on these murals for a period of 30 years, adding to as well as restoring and maintaining, for a total of over 34,000 square feet.

Arts for Health[edit]

Alder Hey runs an Arts for Health programme,[20] funded entirely through charitable sources including Alder Hey Children’s Charity.

The programme aims to enhance the experience of being a patient and includes animation projects, music and dance therapy, creative writing, comedy workshops and storytelling.


Alder Hey has a dedicated innovation hub to enable co-creation of health technologies with industry. In 2014 the innovation team received the prestigious Health Service Journal Award for improving health care with technology.

Notable firsts[edit]

Alder Hey was the first hospital to:

International Child Health Development Programme[edit]

An international child health development programme led by Alder Hey clinicians focuses on humanitarian work in developing countries. The programme includes provision of immediate medical support, knowledge sharing and involvement with international clinical trials.

The programme has undertaken work across Africa and Asia, including Pakistan, Malawi, Nepal and India.[21]

TV appearances[edit]

During the 1990s Alder Hey was featured in the BBC television series Children's Hospital.

In 2011, chef Heston Blumenthal took to the challenge of changing the dinner menu of Alder Hey Children's Hospital on his televised show, Heston's Mission Impossible.[22]

On 23 December 2015, BBC North West Tonight broadcast a special live programme from Alder Hey to celebrate the first Christmas at Alder Hey in the Park.

In 2015 and 2016 Alder Hey featured in the CBBC television series Operation Ouch!.

Organ scandal[edit]

In 1999 an enquiry was instituted to investigate the hospital's practices in respect of removal and retention of human tissue. The enquiry had far-reaching effects throughout the UK hospital system (see Alder Hey organs scandal for more details).

CQC inspection[edit]

In October 2013 the Care Quality Commission's Intelligent Monitoring system placed Alder Hey in category one, meaning it would be amongst the first hospitals to be inspected under a new style of inspection.[23][24]

On 21 and 22 May 2014 Alder Hey was inspected by the Care Quality Commission and was given the overall rating 'Requires Improvement'.[25]

On 15 and 16 June 2015 Alder Hey was re-inspected by the Care Quality Commission and was given the overall rating 'Good', and was rated 'Outstanding' in the 'Caring' category.[26]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Alder Hey Hospital at Wikimedia Commons