LEIGHTON Hospital have unveiled a £1.1 million refurbishment of one of its children’s wards.

The hospital’s Paediatric Assessment Unit, Ward 16, has been transformed during the year-long project, which is part of a wider plan to refurbish all of the hospital’s wards.

Long-term patient Caitlin Shaw, 15, was given the honour of cutting the ribbon during an official opening event in June.

As part of the work, various administrative functions and a paediatric audiology suite have been relocated to allow for more clinical space.

This now includes a seven-bed day case unit, two four-bed bays and four single rooms.

Each bed has also been decorated with animal-themed skylights and wall panels to help create a calming environment for those on the ward.

Andrea Collins, ward manager, said: “We care for children up to the age of 16, and sometimes 18, and so we wanted the ward to be appropriate for everyone.

“The animal decorations, which help to brighten up the ward and offer a distraction to our patients, were made possible thanks to charitable funds and so we’d like to thank all of the individuals and families, including staff who have been fundraising, who have supported us.”

The ward, which has lights that automatically adjust depending on outdoor conditions, also features an isolation suite for the first time.

This has its own air system and can therefore be used to prevent the spread of infection.

All side rooms on the ward now have an en-suite toilet, which will assist the hospital in infection control, and bays have their own hand basins and toilets.

It is now the sixteenth inpatient area to be transformed as part of a hospital-wide refurbishment project being run by Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT), which manages Leighton Hospital.

The Trust now plans to refurbish the remaining children’s ward, Ward 17, along with the adjoining outdoor play area.

Tracy Bullock, chief executive of MCHFT, said: “A visit to hospital can be a distressing time for children and so we want to make their stay as pleasant as possible.

“Our refurbished Paediatric Assessment Unit will help towards this – it’s bright and welcoming and has a number of features to make our younger patients more comfortable.”