The wellbeing of young kiwis in New Zealand is at the heart of services that RRT offers.

After reading an article from a mother of a two-year-old boy who has a serious heart condition, pleading for help to buy beds for the country’s only children’s hospital, Rapid Relief Team was compelled to step in and do what we could to help.

Starship Children’s Hospital is asking Kiwis for help expanding its paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) capacity as it is consistently facing a shortage of beds.

Starship has just 22 beds in its PICU, which it says is not enough due to New Zealand’s population growth, changes in care and treatment of critically sick and injured children, and a growing complexity of cases they treat.

Dr John Beca, director of Starship’s surgical and intensive care services, says occupancy levels are “now critical on average every second day”, which means there are less than two beds available in the unit. He says the need to expand is now “urgent”.

Starship is New Zealand’s national children’s hospital, firmly focused on accelerating world class healthcare for all New Zealand children. Starship’s Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the only dedicated children’s intensive care in New Zealand. It is where our most critically ill and injured children are treated.

Every hour of every day, extraordinary stories of courage, skill and compassion unfold at New Zealand’s national children’s hospital – Starship. It is the life-line for children all over New Zealand with more than 144,000 patient visits and appointments each year.

The shortage of beds meant vulnerable children were not receiving the treatment they so desperately required. Furthermore, non-urgent surgeries were delayed due to the lack of PICU beds.

One young mother said she knew too well the trauma of waiting when your child is seriously unwell. “This needs to change. PICU needs more beds. Just 10 more will make a world of difference. These are our children at their most vulnerable and our families at their most stressed.”

After researching the need and contacting Starship Hospital management, 5 unique children’s hospital cots were handed over to Starship management team on Wednesday 23rd June 2021.

The Paediatric cot is a state of the art pre-school children’s bed. It provides excellent access for nursing staff with electric positioning, telescopic siderails and column construction mechanism. The cot has very high safety parameters and looks great with a child-friendly design.

Dawn Tucker, Nurse Unit Manager of Starship hospital said “Thank you so much for your kind donation, the cots were checked and out in use within the hour. Your timing could not have been better.”

RRT are absolutely thrilled to support such a worthy cause. “Its things like this that give you a real buzz when you see the need in places like Starship,” said Lee West, RRT volunteer.

The support of RRT means Starship can give our most critically ill and injured children from across New Zealand the urgent medical care they need. The work of staff and specialised doctors at the hospital is overwhelming and we look forward to helping Starship Children’s Hospital more in years to come.

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