Young patients and their families can now receive care in bright, spacious and welcoming surroundings after the first phase of the children’s department redevelopment at Ipswich Hospital opened its doors.

The extensive project has seen 14 clinic rooms, a phlebotomy room, medical day case unit, accessible toilet, themed reception, waiting area and parents’ room created.

The first patients were welcomed to the new-look department on Monday. They included Dan Adams, Emma Law and seven-month-old Octavia Law-Adams, from Hadleigh.

Emma said: “The department is nice, bright and colourful with lots of things for the children to look at.”

Steph Hawley, whose daughter Ella (seven) has been receiving treatment for epilepsy and other complications since she was a baby, helped shape the plans for the new-look department.

She said: “It’s a really lovely, bright space which is very child-friendly and inviting. We are especially pleased that an accessible toilet and changing area has been added as it will make a real difference to families like ours and was one of our main suggestions when we were asked what we’d like to see in the new department.”

Dr Lauren Filby, clinical lead for paediatrics at Ipswich Hospital, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the first part of this project is now complete. The work has completely transformed what was a dated area into a bright and welcoming space which really will enhance the experience young patients and their families and carers have when they come to hospital.”

The second stage of the project is due to start in early 2023 when work begins on an extension. The third and final phase will see a new ward entrance and further inpatient rooms, a school room and the children’s assessment unit created. The whole project is due for completion by summer 2024.

The work is being paid for with a combination of NHS investment from ESNEFT and funds raised through Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity’s Children’s Appeal.

Mandy Jordan, associate director of Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported our appeal so far. We are now asking for their continued support to help us provide those all-important additional extras to complete the transformation, including the indoor and outdoor play spaces and sensory equipment.” ​​​​​​​