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Here at the play department we offer a safe and welcoming place for you to play while you are in hospital.  We'll make sure that you can play and do activities that are suitable for your age, and your brothers and sisters can visit us too.  We'll also help you to understand some of the things that will happen while you are in hospital, such as having a scan, or getting your medicine.

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Elaine is our play department manager.  She works with a team of play specialists and assistants who have qualifications in looking after children and playing with children who are ill or in hospital.   Some students studying at local colleges may come and work with us too.

Our main base is a the play centre on level 5 of the children's hospital. Play and craft sessions are held here every day. There are also playrooms and play areas on all of our wards, and you'll find play areas in the hospital's outpatient clinics, consulting rooms, waiting areas and the emergency department.

What do we do?

While you're in hospital, we'll encourage you to play with familiar toys and join in with activities, to make your stay in hospital the best we can, and to help you feel relaxed and happy while you are away from home.


We'll also help you get ready for things that might happen while you are in hospital, such as going to theatre, having scans and Hickman catheters.

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Helping you prepare for your treatment

We can use play to help to explain what will happen while you having your treatment in hospital.  We might do this after you have had your treatment, or while you are having it.  We might use puppets or stories to help explain what will happen, or you might play with other children who are having treatment at the hospital while you are. 

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When do we play?

Throughout the hospital you will see timetables showing the opening times and evenings in the play centre. Please check in case there are any changes to the opening times planned, and look out for notices of special entertainment and events!

You'll also meet play centre staff running activities for you to join in with in the ward play areas and we can come to you if you need to have your treatment and stay in a room on your own. Play centre staff are available between 8 o'clock in the morning and half past 4 in the afternoon from Monday to Friday.  There are also volunteers who help out in the play centre and waiting areas.

The Radio Lollipop team provides a service whenever they can in the evening and at weekends. A Guide and Scout group runs on Friday evenings.

Before you come to hospital for your treatment

We run special sessions to help children prepare for some of the treatments we offer at the hospital, these are called 'pre-admission programmes'.  If you come along to one of the programmes, you'll be given the chance to take part and ask any questions you like about what will happen when you come to hospital.  

Pre-admission programmes are available for planned ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgery each week.

A cardiac (heart) pre-admission and a renal (kidney) pre-admission programme happen weekly in the outpatient department.

You and your family can also have a tour of the hospital so that you know where things are when you come in for your treatment, and will know a bit more about what to expect.  This website can help give you useful information too.

Staff in the play department work closely with other members of staff you will see in the hospital, including the physiotherapists, social workers, dietitians and the medical and nursing staff.

Working with the family unit means we can give support, advice and help to you and your parents or carers. We might create a special plan for play just for you.

Sometimes our staff can visit you at home too. 

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Contact us

The hospital telephone numbers for the play department are:


Play centre - 0117 342 8531
Play centre office - 0117 342 8194

We look forward to seeing you soon.