We use cookies to help us improve the website and your experience using it. You may delete and block all cookies from this site at any time. However, please note this may result in parts of the site no longer working correctly. If you continue without changing your settings we will assume you are happy to receive all cookies on this site.


Therapeutic and Play Services

We provide one of the largest and most comprehensive hospital play services in the UK and Europe.

Why do we need play in hospital?

Youngster playing games while being treated in the Willink ClinicPlay is an important part of the medical care we provide for children and young people because it:

  • Is a normal part of childhood
  • Creates a link between home and hospital – this helps children handle a strange environment
  • Helps children understand and cope with hospital procedures
  • Aids the medical assessment of a child – which helps towards a speedy recovery
  • Helps children cope with pain and work through fear, discomfort and anger and a whole range of emotions.

Play specialist staff

Most wards have play specialists or play leaders who are usually available Monday to Friday. Some wards have occasional cover for evenings and weekends.

All play staff are trained childcare practitioners with additional hospital play specialist and other qualifications.

How the play specialist can help you and your child

Play specialists can help:

  • Your child understand their condition and what they are about to experience
  • Achieve developmental goals for children of all ages and abilities, catering for individual needs in both group and individual play sessions
  • Prepare for individual procedures, such as blood tests, by offering coping strategies and distraction
  • Support children referred for needle phobia or difficulty with treatments
  • Support families, especially brothers and sisters
  • Support children with special needs

Play provision

Young boy colouring while waiting in the Borchardt ClinicAll wards have a playroom or play area, which is always open. Children in the area must be supervised at all times.

Please ensure that your child is supervised in the playroom at all times.

Siblings and visiting children are welcome but must also be supervised at all times. There are evening and weekend cupboards with toys and games on the wards. Please ask a member of nursing staff about this.

Playroom safety

Please help us to avoid any accidents by putting away the toys that your child has been playing with. It could be your child that falls over something left on the floor. Small parts are dangerous to babies and toddlers.

Food and drink must not be taken into play areas by parents or visitors. Patients can usually eat and drink in the playrooms as some are used as dining areas as well. Please ask the ward staff.

Sensory Rooms

These rooms offer children of all ages the opportunity to chill out away from noisy and busy wards. They can help children prepare themselves for operations and other procedures. Play specialists use the rooms to work with children recovering from trauma or surgery.

Bee Prepared Scheme

The Bee Prepared Scheme gives information to children and teenagers about the hospital. They can visit the ward or other departments with their families before coming into hospital for their operation or treatment.

Bee Well Scheme

The Bee Well Scheme involves a play specialist visiting schools and community groups to speak to children about coming into hospital.

Projects and Events

Play specialists are involved in many other schemes and projects such as the Breakaway Youth Club, Craft Club, Cardiac Youth Forum and Teen Talk.

They also arrange events and entertainers such as ‘Music in Hospitals', POD entertainment shows and Theodora Clown Doctors.