BARNSLEY Hospital has opened its doors to a new £3m children’s ward this morning.

This morning (March 22), the new Children’s Emergency Department and Assessment Unit was opened with a socially-distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony by hospital chief executive Dr Richard Jenkins.

The unit provides care for young patients requiring urgent help and assessments and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The new facility is an extension at the front of the current emergency department and offers emergency access along with the new Children’s Assessment Unit.

Previously, the two services were in separate areas on the hospital site, so now paediatric specialists can work together in closer proximity.

Chief executive Dr Richard Jenkins said: “Any family needing to bring their child to hospital would naturally be concerned and families have also been worried about Covid-19 along with the risk of infection.

“Our new, more spacious facilities will provide seamless care which is child-friendly and supportive for families and carers.

“It means the children who arrive with injuries from accidents, infections or other conditions can be seen in a specialist area.

“The new units have space for all the teams and equipment needed.

“They will also let the current emergency department free up some of the space it has had to use to ensure staff and patients are safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We want to welcome and reassure families and hope the prospect of visiting our new dedicated unit will provide extra confidence for parents.”

The new units have been designed with the input of children, young people and service users who have helped specify lighting, decorations, and how services are referred to with sensitive and appropriate language.

Some families involved in consultations also volunteered to be part of the series of video animations which will welcome people to the units.