Hospital staff pioneer “play bag” scheme

SPECIAL “play bags” designed to keep children entertained while their parents attend appointments have been launched at a Suffolk hospital.

The “bizzi bags” scheme at two of West Suffolk Hospital’s busiest departments - accident and emergency and outpatients - was the brainchild of staff nurse Pat Power.

Each bag has crayons, puzzles, join the dots games, drawing paper, stencils, stickers and a 3D animal-making kit.

They are given to children aged three and above and are designed to keep them occupied while they, or the adults with them, are in the waiting room.

Ms Power, who has worked at West Suffolk for 23 years, came up with the idea during a special event which invited outpatients staff to make suggestions to improve the experience which people have while using the hospital.

Around 10,000 packs have been purchased following a generous �6,000 donation from the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital.

“Coming into hospital for an appointment, or even just accompanying a parent or carer, can be quite daunting for young children,” said Ms Power. “As such, I wanted to see better play facilities introduced in the outpatients department to help them to relax while keeping them entertained.

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“These individual bags were also the perfect solution for helping us to ensure that our stringent infection control standards are maintained, as children can take them home with them following their visit to the hospital.

“I’m really pleased that my colleagues and I were given the chance to come up with ideas for improving the service we offer to everyone using West Suffolk Hospital. It’s extremely fulfilling to see one of my suggestions taken forward.”

“We are always looking for ways to improve the experience which our patients have when coming to the hospital, and encourage our staff to come up with practical suggestions as to how we can do just that,” said Debs Ward, outpatients department manager. “We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to follow up a lot of the good suggestions we received, and are especially grateful to Pat for driving forward the project to introduce the play bags. They have been really well received and are making a big difference to both children and parents alike.”