THE MATRON of the children’s hospital has urged readers to raise money to ‘tip the balance’ of the stretched NHS back in the patients’ favour.

Zoe Pooley, who leads an army of 120 nurses looking after around 60,000 children a year, thanked people for their generosity over the past decade and called for more of the same in the future.

The Marcham woman said: “The NHS is hugely stretched as we can see all over the news, but it is the charitable funding that tips the balance in our favour.

“The generosity of people across the county makes the hospital into the cheerful, colourful and bright environment that it is.

“We were just blown away by the gifts and support we had over Christmas and it makes such a significant difference.”

She joined OUHT in 1992 and has worked on the wards at the John Radcliffe site ever since – becoming matron and the most senior nurse at the children’s hospital 18 months ago.

She said: “Moving in to the children’s hospital was the most fantastic and enormous change – we were squeezed on to Level Four of the general hospital before and nothing was designed for children.

“Now we have this amazingly bright and wonderful environment.”

She added that advances in technology were increasing positive outcomes and therefore growing the hospital’s healthcare provision.

She said: “Over the past 10 years we have filled out and outgrown the hospital – technology has changed markedly and as a result children are staying alive and healthy for much longer.

“This is fantastic, of course, but it means children need more healthcare through their lives.”

But it is her team of nurses and the work they carry out that has stood out most for her over the past decade.

She said: “I am immensely proud of all the team that work here – everyone involved from the radiologists and nurses to the cleaners and play specialists who come together to help the children.

“The nurses are wonderful and they follow each family through their time here. It’s hugely rewarding to watch the children grow up healthily.

“Most of the nurses come here from a variety of universities and are inexperienced but we quickly instil in them our values of compassionate excellence with patients.”