Happy 25th Birthday CHW

1995: the year eBay went live, the year Toy Story was released, the year the final episode of ‘Full House’ aired and the year the DVD was first available. More importantly, 1995 was the year that The Children’s Hospital at Westmead officially made the move from Camperdown, marking the beginning of a new era of paediatric health care.

In the 25 years since moving west, The Children's Hospital at Westmead has worked to cement a reputation as world leaders in paediatric health care, treating over 1,000,000 patients from across NSW, Australia and the Pacific Rim.

The last quarter of a century has seen countless achievements including many medical firsts, research breakthroughs and service expansion. It has also seen the Hospital join Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, the largest paediatric healthcare entity in Australia, strengthening partnerships to provide the very best care and treatment for sick kids and their families.

Since the move, the Hospital has celebrated the first cancer gene therapy trial for aggressive brain tumours, Australia’s first interventional heart surgery and the first use of laser technology for the treatment of burns scars in children, plus significantly contributed to progressing treatments for childhood cancer, kidney disease and genetic conditions - all of which have helped improve and save the lives of thousands of young patients across NSW and beyond.

In this time, the Hospital has also celebrated an incredible 100 years of volunteers, with many loyal vollies who made the move from Camperdown to Westmead continuing to dedicate their time to helping the Hospital in any way they can.

The amazing commitment of staff at the Hospital continues to be recognised well beyond our Network too. This year alone, Rita Williams, social worker and proud Aboriginal woman, was named the Collaborative Staff Member of the Year at the NSW Health Awards and Alexandra Penn from the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care was named as a state finalist for ‘New to Practice Nurse/Midwife of the Year’ at the 2020 NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery awards.

While the ‘New Children’s Hospital’ isn’t so ‘new’ anymore, it remains a place of growth and development. The Close Observation Unit opened in 2018, increasing critical care capacity for infants, children and young people with complex medical needs. Stage 1 of the Westmead Redevelopment work commenced in 2015 and a major milestone was reached in May this year, when major construction of the Central Acute Services Building (CASB) was completed three months ahead of schedule. The new facilities in the CASB, including a new Emergency Department and Children’s Short Stay Unit, will help future-proof health outcomes and experiences for patients, carers, families, staff and the wider western Sydney community.

Children’s health services will be even further expanded within the Westmead Health Precinct in the coming years, with the construction of the new Paediatric Services Building. This world-class facility is set to include new Operating Theatres, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, cancer services, pharmacy, additional inpatient units and other clinical services.

Of course, CHW’s 25th year is one that will go down in history. These achievements aside, the commitment and sacrifices staff and volunteers have made to keep the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has been above and beyond and is not something that will ever be forgotten.

With that in mind, there is no better time for staff, volunteers, patients and families to celebrate this milestone and wish The Children’s Hospital at Westmead a very happy birthday.