DOCTORS and nurses from the paediatric surgery ward at Oxford Children’s Hospital have signed up for the OX5 Run to help its children continue to receive first-class care.

Tom’s Ward is one of only 24 paediatric wards in the country and money raised from the Oxford Mail’s OX5 Run goes a long way to supporting young patients and their families, with £114,000 raised at last year’s event. The race is now in its 13th year, and has raised a total of more than £750,000.

Trainee paediatric surgeon Dr Kate Bradshaw said: “We look after many children, sometimes with multiple disabilities and problems and the strain on these families is immense.

“They require a huge amount of care and support and of course the most important thing is to give the children the best possible quality of life. The NHS is very resource-limited so it’s nice to personally help out with this.”

Funding from the Blenheim Palace five-mile run helps a number of areas at the hospital, which treats about 60,000 patients a year. These include play specialists who care for children during their stay.

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Dr Bradshaw, 31, of Marston, said: “Whether it’s a simple thing like taking blood or more serious surgery it can be difficult for a three or four-year-old to understand.

“Play specialists are so useful as a distraction and to talk the families through what is going to happen.

“If we don’t have that support, if the child has a bad experience they could become scared of the hospital.

“For a lot of children the hospital is a big part of their lives so it’s vital they don’t feel scared and if they enjoy it it’s a huge bonus.”

The Tom’s Ward team has eight recruits so far including trainee paediatric surgeon Dr Keren Sloan.

She said: “I arrived in October and I have seen a lot of benefits from the funding in the care we can give.

“It’s only a five-mile run and it’s for such a good cause. It doesn’t matter if you take half an hour or three hours, it’s all about raising money.”

Oxford Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Sarah Vaccari said: “It’s fantastic to see our doctors and nurses getting behind the OX5 Run.

“Tom’s Ward specialises in surgical care, looking after babies, toddlers and teens before and after they are operated on.”

She said money raised by the OX5 had helped the ward fund many extras that make life in hospital easier for children and families, including improvements to the parents room, games and activities.

More than 1000 people have signed up for the run on Sunday, March 29 and there is still time to beat last year’s total of 1,200 entrants.

Online entries for the race, sponsored by Oxford recruitment firm Allen Associates for the seventh year running, close on Thursday, March 26. Go to or scan the QR code.