Young patients at St. Richard’s Hospital Pediatric Day Surgery Unit, however, are getting to drive in style, whizzing down the corridors of the Chichester, West Sussex, England hospital in an actual Rolls-Royce. The automotive manufacturer recently unveiled the Rolls-Royce SRH (named for St. Richard’s Hospital), a child-sized luxury vehicle designed for kids to drive through pediatric corridors marked with traffic signs, arriving at the operating theatre where they will undergo surgery.
St. Richard’s has been allowing kids to drive themselves to surgery for years as a way of reducing the stress surrounding operations. The miniature Jeep they had been using began to wear out recently, so the Love Your Hospital charity approached Rolls-Royce about creating a replacement. The manufacturer, also based in Chichester, responded with a sleek blue and white electric car with red interior, capable of going from 0-10 mph in mere seconds thanks to a 24-volt gel battery that delivers a smooth, quiet ride rivaling the company’s V12 engines.
“We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex. The Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester does such vital work in providing essential care to young people and their families,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “We hope that the Rolls‑Royce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful.”
Rolls-Royce is all about using 3D printing in the manufacture of their full-size vehicles, and they made no exception for the SRH, 3D printing the paddle controls and the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. The company’s Bespoke Manufacturing Team spent over 400 hours of their own time designing and handcrafting the car.
“I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved,” said Lawrie Mewse, Project Leader for the SRH. “This project showcases the amazing skills and technology that exist in the Bespoke Manufacturing Team and across every area at the Home of Rolls Royce here at Goodwood. However, the most important thing is giving back to the local community and having a positive impact for children and their parents during their time in hospital.”
The Rolls-Royce SRH was taken for its first test drives by pediatric unit patients Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru, who arrived at the company’s Goodwood design studio to put the car through its paces for a final validation and inspection before it was officially handed over to the hospital. The two test drivers then returned home with their families in full-sized, chauffeured Rolls-Royce Ghosts. With Molly and Hari’s stamp of approval, the SRH is now in full operation, allowing young patients to cruise into surgery in style rather than being wheeled in.
“It’s wonderful seeing a smiley face on the way to theatre, rather than an apprehensive one, and everyone caring for children at St Richard’s is so grateful to Rolls-Royce for this unique donation,” said Sue Nicholls, Pediatric Matron at Western Sussex Hospitals NSH Foundation Trust. “We know boys and girls alike will love driving it and in the coming years it will help turn a daunting experience into a more fun and enjoyable one for hundreds and hundreds of children.”
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