Improving young patients’ experiences

At Evelina London Children’s Hospital, we provide care to around 70,000 children and their families each year. Many of these patients come in for outpatient appointments, while others are admitted into hospital for planned or emergency treatment or surgery. While the hospital caters very well for patients with complex needs requiring specialist treatment, there was an opportunity to create a dedicated space for children needing a planned procedure which doesn’t require an overnight stay in hospital.

With this in mind, our new Children’s Day Surgery Unit within our new Children’s Day Treatment Centre has been developed to facilitate a quicker, smoother patient experience for children and young people. The patients who visit the unit can usually return home within a couple of hours of their treatment, which not only benefits them, but also means we can see patients at the main hospital quicker too.

Thanks to our new Children’s Day Surgery Unit, we expect to treat an additional 2,300 children and young people each year, while also freeing up space in the main children’s hospital for patients requiring overnight stays. This helps us to commit to providing more life-changing care to children and young people faster.

What’s in the new Children’s Day Surgery Unit?

Our new Children’s Day Surgery Unit places everything in one family-friendly space. All steps from pre-surgery checks, the operation itself, recovery, and preparation for going home take place in the same location. Not only does this speed up the process, but it makes our young patients feel more at ease with their entire treatment experience.

The outer space-themed unit features two brand new operating theatres dedicated specifically to shorter day procedures, as well as a comfortable lounge for patients and their families, all designed in bright, welcoming colours. Making the Children’s Day Surgery Unit a fun and family-friendly environment was a key part of the design, as we know visiting hospital can be scary or intimidating.

Children and young people helped us make the new centre friendly and welcoming by sharing feedback on designs and submitting their own space-themed creations which were reimagined in the new centre by a team of artists and designers.

We have also invested in new technology for the Children’s Day Surgery Unit, such as state of the art keyhole surgery equipment. Mr Hemanshoo Thakkar, consultant paediatric surgeon at Evelina London, specialises in lower gastrointestinal and minimal access surgery. He explains “this equipment gives us the ability to carry out a lot of minimally invasive surgery, helping our patients to recover quicker.”

space themed artwork in Evelina Children's Day Surgery Unit

Photo credit: Robert Greshoff

General surgery in Evelina London’s Children’s Day Surgery Unit

Our general surgery team at Evelina London specialise in diagnosing and managing a wide range of childhood conditions. Our consultant paediatric general surgeons offer comprehensive care from routine procedures to complex cases.

Conditions which our specialist consultant surgeons treat are:

  • hernia repair (including inguinal or umbilical hernia surgery)
  • removal of digits
  • circumcision
  • thoracic surgery (including congenital lung lesions)
  • upper gastrointestinal surgery (including fundoplication, splenectomy and cholecystectomy)
  • lower gastrointestinal surgery (including Hirschsprung’s disease treatment, anorectal malformations, constipation and inflammatory bowel disease)
  • neonatal surgery
  • feeding difficulties
  • tongue tie

“With the opening of our Children’s Day Surgery Unit, there’s now more scope to carry out surgery for straightforward procedures like tongue ties, hernias and circumcisions,” says Mr Thakkar. “These are all treatments where our young patients can go home within just a few hours and continue to recover there.”

Specialist urology department for children and teenagers

Our children’s urology service provides specialist care for children with kidney, bladder and genitalia problems. Our team of skilled and compassionate paediatric urology experts offer treatment for:

  • bladder problems e.g. urinary incontinence and infections
  • urinary tract problems such as UTIs, hydronephrosis and cystic kidneys
  • genital abnormalities including hypospadias and undescended testis
  • balanitis (head of the penis is swollen and sore)
  • posterior urethral valves
  • pre and post-renal transplant management

Patients of our urology department will especially benefit from the opening of the Children’s Day Surgery Unit. Mr Pankaj Mishra, consultant paediatric urologist, explains “80-90% of our urology operations are day cases, for example circumcisions for balanitis, orchidopexy for undescended testes, and treatment for hypospadias.”

This, alongside fixed weekly slots for urology patients in the new unit, means that urology patients will be seen, diagnosed and treated very quickly. “We have multidisciplinary teams at Evelina London, so we’re really well placed to offer complex services and treatments to our urology patients,” adds Mr Mishra.

A further benefit of our Children’s Day Surgery Unit at Evelina London is that children will have a seamless transition to our adjoining adults’ hospital, St Thomas’, should they require treatment beyond their teenage years. This joined-up approach is something we pride ourselves on, further improving the experience of our young patients and families.

Brand new paediatric plastic surgery equipment

Our plastic surgery service at Evelina London is one of the largest of its kind. Our specialists provide a range of treatments for conditions such as birthmarks, moles and cysts, as well as scar management. Again, our paediatric plastic surgery team work closely with the adult plastic surgery team at St Thomas’ Hospital, sharing expertise.

Our plastic surgery specialists see patients experiencing conditions such as:

  • skin lesions including moles, cysts and tumours
  • scarring and birthmarks management (keloids, port-wine stain)
  • congenital ear conditions, including protruding ears
  • male breasts (gynaecomastia)
  • hand and upper limb deformities
  • neurofibromatosis
  • chest wall disorders
  • facial nerve palsy

Mr Simon Filson is the plastic surgery clinical lead at Evelina London and is a consultant plastic surgeon. He notes, “what we’re offering here in the Children’s Day Surgery Unit will make a huge difference to children treated here.”

We have invested in new equipment in the new unit specifically for treating our plastic surgery patients, such as new lasers for the removal of birthmarks, moles, cysts and scars. “Our new lasers, unlike some more traditional lasers, cater for a range of skin tones by only penetrating through the top layer of melanin,” explains Mr Filson. “This means the lasers do not cause reactionary, deeper pigmentation.”

These advancements and developments in the unit mean that plastic surgery patients can now visit the Children’s Day Surgery Unit. We expect them to be treated and on their way home after the procedure within around three to four hours.

Contact us

Our additional capacity within the new Children’s Day Surgery Unit significantly reduces the time between a patient’s referral and their treatment, both for private and NHS patients.

If your child requires a treatment or procedure, whether it’s on a day patient basis or requires an overnight stay, we can help. Contact our dedicated customer services team to start your child’s treatment journey.