Proud day for Molly

THE first 50 outpatients were seen at Hinchingbrooke Hospital s new Children s Unit, on Monday. At the opening of the £7.5million facility was teenager Molly Smith, who, having been in and out of hospitals since she was six months old, was an adviser on t

THE first 50 outpatients were seen at Hinchingbrooke Hospital's new Children's Unit, on Monday.

At the opening of the £7.5million facility was teenager Molly Smith, who, having been in and out of hospitals since she was six months old, was an adviser on the design and new facilities.

Molly, who will be 17 next Wednesday, has spent time at Hinchingbrooke, Great Ormond Street, Birmingham and Addenbrooke's hospitals after being born with a defective gut.

She said: "I have spent a lot of time in hospital and I know what works and what doesn't work.

"There tends to be very little for teenagers because everything is geared towards the younger children. Teenagers need a room with computers and a television. They need a chill-out room, where they can get away from the little children."

Molly, from Buckden, helped with the design of two separate children's play areas at the unit, including a sensory play area and an activity area.

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"They need to be separate because they have separate purposes," she said.

The new unit, also called The Holly Unit and replacing Holly Ward at the hospital, will offer for the first time at Hinchingbrooke a place where young outpatients can be treated away from the wards and other treatment rooms.

Molly said: "The outpatients' waiting area needs to be spacious so that young children can run around. If the space is too small, it gets hectic and very hot and stuffy."

She said allowing parents to be able to sleep at the hospital close to their children was something she had found very important over the years.

"It is good to know that your mum or dad is nearby."

Molly, a former pupil at St Neots Community College, is about to start an international baccalaureate course at Impington Village College. Despite having to be away from school for the past two years, she studied for six GCSEs at home and achieved six A* grades and an A.

The new unit, as featured in The Hunts Post last month, is purpose-built for children and will treat more than 10,000 patients each year in its separate inpatient and outpatient departments.

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