Actor and comedian Steve Coogan attended the formal opening of the new Accident and Emergency Department at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton this afternoon (Tuesday 31 January).
Coogan, who lives in Ovingdean, was standing in for his friend and fellow Brighton actor Mark Williams, who played Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films.
But he said that he was delighted to support the hospital as a father of two – and to do a favour for his friend.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Alex, said: “Each day around 50 children come into our A&E.
“Having listened to parents’ stories about bringing their children to the adult department and the impossibility of protecting them from the sights and sounds of a busy adult A&E, which are definitely more than PG-rated, we decided to transfer our young patients to a more appropriate paediatric setting.”
The new department has 39 specialist staff, including six consultants, a nurse consultant and ten paediatric nurses.
Staff there aim to assess children up to the age of 17 within 15 minutes of their arrival.
The new A&E includes two pain distraction units – similar to a 3D television – which were funded by children’s charity Rockinghorse with support from Gingerman Restaurants and its customers. The units cost almost £10,000 each.
Chef Ben McKellar, who runs the four Gingerman restaurants with his wife Pamela, attended the opening with representatives of Rockinghorse. The Brighton-based charity has long supported the Royal Alex and the Trevor Mann Baby Unit locally.
Pamela McKellar said: “We are delighted to have made the commitment to support Rockinghorse and the Alex.
“The new children’s A&E will be of huge benefit to so many children.”