Year of Celebrations to Mark 150th Birthday of Royal Hospital for Sick Children

This week sees the launch of a year of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Edinburgh’s internationally-renowned Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

What was originally known as the Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children first opened its doors on 15 February 1860, at 7 Lauriston Lane. It provided treatment to children from the poorest backgrounds – who all too often were left to suffer.

A century-and-a-half later, what began as a 20-bed institution with a small dispensary, has blossomed into a centre of excellence offering care and treatment the founders would never have thought possible.

Celebrations begin on Monday 15 February with a special party atmosphere as magicians, clowns and face painters tour the wards to entertain the children.

Staff, patients and families will also be invited to enjoy a slice of birthday cake.

Among the first to offer his birthday congratulations was Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who said:


 "I'm delighted to send my best wishes to the patients, families, staff and friends of the Royal Hospital of Sick Children on this special day.
"The hospital's birthday provides an opportunity to look back at how paediatric care and medicine - and the skills and knowledge of our doctors and nurses - have developed and improved over the last 150 years; from the treatment in the 1860s of diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis to the specialist surgery and intensive care undertaken today.
"And it is also a chance to look to the future and the completion in 2013 of NHS Lothian's new children's hospital, which will provide the modern facilities and environment for the RHSC to continue its life-saving work and exceptional standards of care for society's most vulnerable patients.
"The past decade has seen record investment in the NHS and ensuring the highest standards of care remains my priority. Best wishes for a great day - and the very best of good fortune for the future. You all thoroughly deserve it."


Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon MSP adder her best wishes, she said:
“I would like to send my warmest congratulations to all the staff, patients and their families and supporters of the RHSC for reaching this fantastic milestone. The hospital has undertaken a massive journey since it opened its doors in 1860 and that journey will continue with the move to Little France in 2013.
“The RHSC has always had strong ambitions and even before it opened for the first time it was planned as a teaching hospital with the aim of promoting the advancement of medical science in relation to childhood diseases. Today the hospital provides a wide range of specialist services with increased investment in gastroenterology, general surgery, rheumatology cystic fibrosis and children's cancer. The development of these services will result in quicker access for new patients and consistency of care for chronic patients as well as providing a greater level of support from stronger multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare professionals to support these children and young people.”
The RHSC has a special place in the hearts of many Lothian families, bringing hope to thousands of young people.
Dr Charles Winstanley, chair of NHS Lothian, said:
“It’s wonderful to be celebrating the hospital’s 150th birthday – it has achieved so much for so many patients and is recognised for its pioneering work to advance paediatric medicine.
“The RHSC provides the highest standards of care for children and young people from the Lothians and across Scotland.
“From its earliest days the hospital was saving the lives of children who were suffering from the terrible diseases which ravaged the poor and undernourished.
“I believe the founders would be proud of the way we have built on the hospital’s original principles, and we are certainly proud of everything that is being achieved by the staff at the RHSC.
“Even better is that this is not simply a story about the past, but about the future too, as we look forward to the creation of a new hospital for children and young people at Little France which will continue to care for Scotland’s children throughout the 21st century.”
Other activities planned for the year include a summer garden party, birthday card competition and a photography exhibition capturing a year in the life of NHS Lothian's Children's Services.