First play conference takes centre stage at Evelina London

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Healthcare professionals from across the country gathered at Evelina London Children's Hospital to play with ideas and to demonstrate the vital importance of play in healthcare.

The first-ever dedicated play conference hosted by Evelina London was open to all play professionals and free to attend. Speakers from across Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust included multidisciplinary experts from the pain service, psychology service and neurodevelopmental service explaining how they work together with play specialists to improve care for children and their families.

There was also a presentation about how the play team support patient engagement events at the hospital.

Susan Pruden, play service manager at Evelina London, said:

We were delighted to welcome colleagues from across the country to join us in celebrating the power of play. The conference saw conversations around ideas and projects, and new enthusiasm for promoting play within health settings. The excellent feedback the conference has received exemplifies the importance of therapeutic play in creating an excellent experience for our young patients.

"Play is an essential part of childhood, as children learn, develop, communicate and express themselves through play.

"Our play specialists are highly trained in providing play for sick children and young people. They give our patients the means to develop through fun and familiar activities, helping to reduce anxiety and aid their recovery."

The conference was organised with support from the clinical education team, who develop education and training for colleagues who work in clinical settings, both at Evelina London and other hospitals in the region.

Matthew Norridge, head of clinical education at Evelina London, said:

Play specialists are such a key part of our workforce in children's services and therefore a workforce we want to develop. It's been an absolute honour to host the first play conference at Evelina London. The conference gave us the opportunity to celebrate the incredible work that play specialists do as a core part of the team.

"This follows the success of many other education courses, masterclasses and conferences we offer to our colleagues locally and nationally to improve the care provided across the country to children and their families. Our play specialists' vision for this event and passion for play sets firm foundations for further events and initiatives to develop and celebrate this profession more. Roll on next year!"

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital care and treatment for babies, children and young people at Evelina London Children's Hospital, our purpose-built children's hospital, in children's services in St Thomas' Hospital and at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals. We care for families in our local areas and provide an extensive range of specialist services for children with rare and complex conditions from all over the south east of England.

Find out more about the play service at Evelina London.

Last updated: March 2024

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