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London’s hospital designed by children opens its magical doors

Health & Science

LONDON: A children's hospital designed by children opened its doors Thursday in Liverpool.

Alder Hey, the busiest children's hospital in Europe, handling 275,000 patients a year, started a five-day move from 19th century buildings into a magical 21st century complex resembling a space station.

When the keys to the 380 million U.S. dollars new building were finally handed over today the first to be given a preview of the new hospital were a group of children who have been part of the project team.

When hospital bosses decided in 2007 that the old buildings had reached the end of their lives they took the bold step of asking the children to design Alder Hey's replacement.

A grass and wildflower roof slopes into a parkland, surrounding the new campus with nature. In the main reception hall there is one of the world's biggest tree houses.

Old fashioned wards have been replaced by en-suite rooms after children said they wanted privacy. It means their mums and dads can stay over to be with the sick children. Children can even select the food they want chefs to prepare for them in the hospital wards.

Garden areas give the young patients the chance to play outside, with computer games added for those rainy days.

The operating theaters are the most up to date in the world, with high quality cameras able to beam surgical operations to experts around the world.

Doctors said the new-look hospital, with its openness, color and special effects, will speed up recovery time for children,

One of the first to see the hospital today was 21 years old Eleanor Brogan. Seven years ago she won a competition, using a picture of a flower to design her perfect hospital.

"When I was a patient at Alder Hey I entered a design competition for the new hospital. I won the competition with my picture of a flower, and I was told later the architects had used my flower to help design the new Alder Hey. I chose a flower because I wanted to see lots of green, something bright with loads of fresh air, very different from a traditional hospital," she said.

Hospital CEO Louise Shepherd said: "We have strived to create a world class healing environment that will benefit children from across the UK and throughout the world. Our new Alder Hey in the Park has been designed to meet the expectations of our young patients who wanted to be looked after in a state of the art facility that was fun. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity to create something special."

Hospital chairman Sir David Henshaw, said the new hospital will put Alder Hey on the world map. "We are already seeing the world's best doctors and surgeons wanting to come and work here. The future for Alder Hey is better than ever."

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