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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Oxford Children's Hospital celebrates play in the treatment of children

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Young patients and staff at Oxford Children's Hospital have been celebrating National Play in Hospital Week, which runs from 9-14 October 2017, with a 'Design a Cape' competition.

National Play in Hospital Week is organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPA) and is supported by Starlight Children’s Foundation, a national charity which provides entertainment in hospitals and hospices across the UK and grants wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.

Victoria Seaman, Children's Services Manager at Starlight Children's Foundation, said:

"Starlight is delighted to support National Play in Hospital Week for the seventh year running. At Starlight, we brighten the lives of seriously ill children through distraction and entertainment, and National Play in Hospital Week highlights the importance of play in the treatment of sick children and young people.

"We hope the week's activities bring many hours of fun and distraction to hospitalised children."

To celebrate, OUH staff members in the John Radcliffe Hospital's West Wing have been sporting superhero costumes for their ENT and Plastics clinics, and Play Specialists at Oxford Children's Hospital are running a competition to design the cape children would wear as a 'Superhero of play'.

Joanne Pinney, Play Specialist at Oxford Children's Hospital, said: 

"We're asking our patients, 'If you were a ‘Superhero of play' would your cape glisten with glitter and bright colours, would a paintbrush be your weapon of choice or would 'The Xbox' be the logo everybody knew you by?' 

"I'm delighted that our team has got into the spirit (and the costumes) - it has contributed even more to the fun!"

Anne Alexander, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Hand Therapy, said:

"Play Specialists are amazing, because they can keep children distracted and happy while you get on with the important job you have to do; their help is invaluable."

The 'Superhero of Play' competition entries will be judged on Friday 13 October, with prizes for the winners.

For more information on National Play in Hospital Week, please visit

Picture: Val Foye (front), Specialist Practitioner Specialist Surgery, with Anne Alexander, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist Hand Therapy, Jo Pinney, Play Specialist, Tracy Thomas, Senior Staff Nurse Plastics Dressing Clinics.