For more than 150 years it has provided life-saving treatment to children from all over the country and offered families vital support during their time of need.
Now as it prepares to move into a new home, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, known affectionately to many as the Sick Kids, is set for another big change by taking on a new name – The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh (RHCYP).
The announcement comes as work continues on the hospital’s new purpose-built site in Little France next to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Brian Houston, chair of NHS Lothian, said the new name would better reflect modern medicine and the age range of patients treated at the hospital. He said: “Our vision for our new facility is to create a centre of excellence founded in Lothian’s finest traditions of healthcare and medical research.
“It will allow us to deliver the highest standards of care and pioneer new treatments. It will provide a safe, comforting and healing environment which promotes recovery and meets the needs of patients and their carers.
“Not only does the move to the new location at Little France allow us to join up the dots between our children and adult services on one campus but it gave us the opportunity to choose a name that represents the services that will be provided from the new hospital without losing the proud history of the ‘Sick Kids’.”
The title was chosen after staff, patients and visitors were asked what was important to them when it came to naming the services, which led to The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh coming out on top.
The “Royal” title has been applied to the hospital for more than 150 years and dates back to 1863 when Queen Victoria bestowed upon it her Royal Patronage.
When asked, both patients and staff shared an interest in continuing the “Royal” title following its move to Little France. NHS Lothian then received confirmation from the Royal Family for the title to continue.
Hospital bosses said the removal of the word “sick” was aimed at shifting the focus away from why patients might be there, adding this categorisation could also have a detrimental impact on a patient’s self-esteem.
As well as the children’s hospital, the new building will also house the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the Children and Adolescents Mental Health Services, currently at the Western General and Royal Edinburgh respectively.
But it’s not just the hospital which is undergoing a rebrand after Edinburgh-based charity the Sick Kids Friends Foundation announced it too would be changing its name.
In a move timed to coincide with the Sick Kids’ decision, the charity – which has supported the hospital for 25 years – will now be known as the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).
Despite its new name the much-loved charity – which has transformed the experiences of thousands of families whose children have been patients at the hospital – said its mission to raise funds for vital equipment and services remained as important as ever.
Roslyn Neely, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Through the amazing support and fundraising of many, many people, we’ve supported the work of the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital for 25 years.
“But with the hospital changing to a new name, we felt this would be a positive opportunity to also update our own name.
“Aside from our name, nothing will change in terms of the work that we do. We continue to be a grant-giving organisation which exists to transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital so that they can be a child first and a patient second.
“We give out on average £1.5 million a year to ensure that children’s lives are less interrupted by illness, they are less scared of hospital and that their families are also comforted and supported by us.”
The charity said its rebrand would help it better reflect changes at the new hospital, which will now treat young people up to the age of 16 – rather than 13 as was previously the case – as well as providing child and adolescent mental health services.
ECHC recently revealed it had enjoyed a record-breaking 2016, smashing its target for donations to soar past the £1.8 million mark, as well as paying out £3,180,815 in grants – the largest amount ever paid in one year.
The majority of the £3 million donated has been used to fund a package of art and therapeutic design projects at the new hospital at Little France – the largest programme of its kind in the UK.
And with such significant support, ECHC said it was paramount for the charity to involve its fundraisers and those who have benefited from its work in every step of the rebranding process.
Roslyn explained: “Changing name is a big decision and we wanted to make sure we got it right. Over the past few months, we have spoken to many people about our name and logo, including children, young people and families using the hospital, staff, volunteers, supporters and almost 200 members of the public.
“The new name has proved very popular across all groups. All were agreed that they could see why we’d want to move away from ‘Sick Kids’ to a name, which with the inclusion of a second young person in our logo, now better reflects our support of the hospital.
“Now that we’ve announced the change, we only ask people to continue to support us in whatever way they can. Our name may be different but our mission to raise funds remains the same. The clinical work of the hospital is world class and often ground-breaking.
“However, we rely completely on the public for all our donations and we still need support to help us provide the magical extras to benefit the hundreds of thousands of babies, children and young people who will be patients over future decades.”
It comes just days after fast food giant McDonald’s charity, Ronald McDonald House Charities, revealed it would be footing the bill for a new £3 million “hotel” at the new Sick Kids’ development.
The new 26-bedroom facility, due to open next spring, is designed to help parents to stay free-of-charge close to their children during hospital stays.