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What we do

The play department provides normal every day play and specialist play preparation for children and young people in outpatient clinics and on the wards.

Play preparation or general play is a way to help children and young people deal with any fears or worries about hospital, illness or treatment and to form coping strategies.  

Pre-admission programmes

Specialised play sessions at preadmission clinics prepare children and young people for a hospital admission, giving them the opportunity to identify and address any fears they may have. Individual sessions can also be arranged for those who are particularly anxious about their admission. Please contact the play department to request this service.

Therapeutic play preparation for hospital procedures

Using specially designed materials and resources, qualified staff prepare patients before going to theatre or undergoing procedures such as scans, X rays and blood tests. This helps children and young people to cope and become more confident. If you feel this would be beneficial, please contact your play specialist or nurse.


Using a variety of techniques, the play team is able to support anxious patients during clinical procedures. We aim to reduce their fear by using distraction and coping strategies.

Post-procedural play

Post-procedural sessions allow patients time to play and talk about their hospital experience. It provides the opportunity for misconceptions to be corrected, and patients to be reassured.


Sensory play is beneficial to all children and young people. New sounds, sights and textures can gently stimulate children and teach them about the world we live in. Sensory play is especially effective in babies who may have been in hospital since birth and are less familiar with noises outside of the hospital and for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities.

Activities Program

The activities program runs on a daily basis across the hospital and includes (subject to Covid-19 restrictions):

• PAT dogs (pets as therapy)

• Visiting musicians and artists

• Professional children's entertainers

• WeTheCurious interactive science sessions

• Scouts

• Radio Lollipop