Hospital gets ready for national play week

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Young patients and staff at Milton Keynes Hospital will be showing how a spoonful of play helps the medicine go down by joining in the fun of National Play in Hospital week.

The event, which runs from October 14 to 20, aims to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of poorly children across the UK.

This year marks 50 years since the first ever hospital play staff were employed in the UK and patients on Milton Keynes Hospital’s children’s ward have been expressing how play helps them to cope with being in hospital.

Chloe, 7, who was admitted to hospital last week, loved the designated play area. She said: “I didn’t feel so scared when I was playing there, as it was fun. We played games with other children too.”

Laura Clarke, who is a play assistant at the hospital, said: “The week is an excellent opportunity for us to raise awareness of the benefits of play and we have organised a really fun week of activities for our patients, including arts and crafts, competitions, and a visit from Leo the Lion who is the mascot of Leo’s Appeal.

“Being unwell can be very distressing and scary and play really does help. The patients are extremely excited that Leo the Lion will be visiting too!”

Leo’s Appeal was launched in September to raise money for the children’s ward at the hospital, to develop play areas on the ward, as well as provide new games and toys, and a new sensory room.

The play week is organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists and is supported by the Starlight charity which provides entertainment in hospitals and hospices across the UK and grants wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.