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Frequently asked questions

Got a question? Below are some of the most common questions about Cambridge Children's Hospital.

An architect image showing what some of the outdoor space might look like. Accessed from a ward, with places to sit, some of it covered, some of it open to the sky

Who will be treated in the new hospital?

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will treat children and young people from 0-18 years old from across the East of England and beyond, including children with cancer. The hospital will also include surgical theatres and a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with capacity to care safely for the sickest children within our region, better supporting families. Our regional transport and retrieval service for sick children (PaNDR) will better coordinate care with regional district general hospitals.

We will use our innovative ‘whole child’ model not only to better treat mental health conditions, but also to improve support for children and young people with chronic diseases.

While we expect most young people to access adult services once they reach 18 years old, individual patients will transition to adult services at the appropriate time for them, depending on their individual needs and preferences.

Although it is based in Cambridge, Cambridge Children's Hospital will reach communities across the region and share excellence regionally, nationally and internationally. The new models of care and world-leading research we develop will have national and global impact.

Who is involved?

The hospital is a collaborative venture between three accountable partners: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (CUH), Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and the University of Cambridge (UoC).

We’re also working closely with the Local Education Authority (to develop a hospital school) and other regional partners, including local authorities, hospitals and retrieval services, 16 acute neighbouring trusts and five community health trusts.

When will it open?

Planning permission was granted in March 2022 and pre-construction works began in February 2024. Full construction is currently anticipated to start towards the end of 2025 to early 2026. This will be confirmed following the appointment of a construction partner.

There are a huge number of variables with a project the scale and size of Cambridge Children’s Hospital. This means the projected timescales for construction have to be regularly reviewed.

The provisional start date for construction and occupancy has recently been revised to take into account a change to the planned size of the hospital, delays arising from the impact of Covid-19 and a change to the governance and funding model for the Project.

The construction and commissioning schedule for the hospital will be confirmed during the Full Business Case stage and following ongoing discussions with the government’s New Hospital Programme.

Why do we need a children’s hospital in Cambridge for the East of England?

The East of England is still the only region in England without a dedicated children’s hospital. We need a local centre of excellence for the 1.5 million children and young people in the region. Cambridge is a leading hub of scientific innovation and research. It makes sense for a world-leading children’s hospital to be built in Cambridge, where it will serve not just Cambridgeshire, but the whole region and further afield.

At the moment, children’s services for mental and physical health are split between a number of sites, which can be stressful for families and makes providing joined-up holistic care challenging.

Current limited specialist paediatric capacity means children and young people are treated out of region (as far away as Bristol, Liverpool or Glasgow for some patients), costing £50m each year, and making accessing treatment a more negative experience for patients and their families. Our existing mental health wards and other outdated facilities also need urgent reprovision.

What is the scope and size of Cambridge Children’s Hospital?

The current plans have been designed to maximise the available clinical space for both mental and physical healthcare within the Cambridge Children’s Hospital building, and to prioritise those services that must be co-located.

The Outline Business Case will identify and financially model the final scope, ensuring that it is cost-effective and allows for future developments in healthcare provision and demand.

We are currently working to a design brief of 35,000m2. Based on the current designs, there will be just over 160 beds of which:

  • 124 hospital beds: 88 inpatient (72 physical health inpatient beds and 16 PICU) and 36 mental health inpatient beds
  • 42 day-case beds
  • Seven operating theatres
  • Embedded 5,000m2 research institute with six research centres: Genomic Medicine; Neurodevelopment and Mental Health; Childhood Cancer; Diabetes and Obesity; Inflammation and Infection; and Perinatal conditions and care.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will sit next to the Rosie Maternity Hospital, which includes a 58-bedded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

How are you involving patients and carers in the design of the hospital?

Patient and carer coproduction and engagement is central to the vision for Cambridge Children's Hospital. Young people, children, families and carers have been involved in developing the plans for the hospital – from its design to how we deliver care.

We are working with existing patient groups across the region, and we have also set up our own Cambridge Children’s Network, which was launched in January 2021 and now has hundreds of members from across the region. We have a group of Parent Advocates, with lived experience of accessing children’s services, who are embedded across all aspects of the project to provide challenge, contribute ideas and play a vital role in the developing plans. We also have a Parent Carer Voice, a Youth Forum, and a Young Adult Forum.

Find out more about how we are working with children, young people and families on the project and how you can get involved here.

Where will it be located?

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will be situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the largest centre for bio-medical science in Europe.

It will be built on a greenfield site opposite to the Rosie Hospital, connecting neonatal and antenatal care with children’s services. In effect this will create a 55,000 m2 maternity/paediatric medical complex providing care from conception to age 18 within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Its proximity to the main Addenbrooke’s Hospital ensures access to leading clinical and research experts and eases transition for young people as they access adult services, including cancer.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital is part of the wider Addenbrooke’s 3 redevelopment, which includes the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital (currently scheduled to open in 2026).

What environmental credentials will the hospital have?

Careful design will incorporate sustainable materials and minimise use of natural resources and the impact on the environment, with a vision of ‘zero carbon emissions and high environmental sustainability’ as a guiding principle.

We are aiming for Cambridge Children's Hospital to be built to 'Passivhaus principles'. Passivhaus buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling.

Adaptability is key to our sustainability vision, which includes designing wards with single bedrooms that can be modified for different patient needs over time. This allows the NHS to maximise the building’s useful life.

The hospital will include as many outdoors spaces as possible, including gardens, courtyards and terraces to provide access to nature and spaces for play and relaxation that support biodiversity and wildlife. The main hospital building will itself be enclosed within a wide landscaped green perimeter that recreates the feel of a summer meadow.