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New ground-breaking research facility opens at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Last updated: 14/11/2023

Research team stood in Coral Reef

A new ground-breaking research facility is now open at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW).

The research centre ‘The Coral Reef’ opened at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC) after Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity reached their fundraising target for the new facility.

The charity launched the South West Children’s Research Appeal in May (2023), bringing funding to over £700,000.

Thanks to the new facility, which opens to patients next week, the research team at BRHC will be able to take on 30% more research projects and increase patient numbers by around 1,200 every year.

For many of these patients, this will mean they no longer have to make a trip elsewhere in the country for potentially curative treatment.

Paul Kearney, chief executive of Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity, said: “Thanks to the people of Bristol and the South West who have generously donated to the South West Children’s Research Appeal, we’ve given hope to thousands of families.

“The new research facility will improve thousands of lives today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

With the support of a focus group made up of young patients, the facility has been created with children in mind and will aim to feel like a home-from-home for patients.

It has been decorated with artwork created by Chris Dickason, the Bristol-based illustrator behind the Bristol Aquarium window art and will feature soothing and calming colours.

Coral Reef Artwork

Professor A.V.Ramanan, consultant rheumatologist at UHBW and professor of paediatric rheumatology, said: “The new facility will enable us to participate in trials which can be life transforming and potentially curative, like gene therapy studies.

“This Clinical Research Facility makes Bristol a cutting edge treatment site for rare paediatric disease, which has meant either children having to travel, or often missing out on novel therapies for rare conditions.

“Thanks to the charity and its supporters, this will no longer be the case and we are excited to welcome our first patients next week.”

To find out more about Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity, go to: www.bwhospitalscharity.org.uk.