"Children's toys in hospital waiting area"

About: Balfour Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as a relative),

I was recently waiting in the Outpatients area for my son's Orthoptist appointment - unfortunately the orthoptist was running nearly an hour late, as her plane from Aberdeen had been delayed - and there was nothing for my young son (who is 6 years old and has Down's Syndrome) to do to keep him occupied.

The waiting area used to have plenty of toys to keep young children busy. When I asked my G.P the reason for the toys being removed over the last few months, she said it was due to health and safety and infection control.

My son was getting increasingly irritable and fidgetty, and wanted to play with the only remotely interesting thing in the area - the water cooler. His behaviour can be difficult at times, and it became quite a stressful experience, trying to keep him away from the water.

In the end I resorted to going to the WRVS shop and buying him chocolate - which had its own messy conclusion. The waiting also resulted in my son being unco-operative by the time he eventually did get seen.

I don't know if there is a solution to this, but I (and I'm sure other parents) would greatly appreciate something to keep waiting children amused - even if it is just a dvd.

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Response from NHS Orkney We are preparing to make a change

Dear Concerned Parent

I am very sorry that you had a stressful time whilst waiting with your son in our Out Patients Waiting Area and would like to thank you for taking the time to feedback your experience.

You are quite correct in saying toys were removed from waiting rooms to reduce the potential spread of infection. This was in light of the pandemic flu outbreak and was a measure to control the possibility of infection between patients and public.

I have talked to our Infection Control Manager about the issue you raised and she has advised that provided the toys are washable and that a cleaning rota is in place, toys can be returned to the waiting area.

We will therefore investigate which toys are suitable and source appropriate funding in an attempt to try and rectify this situation.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to post your patient story and hope you feel that we have listened to your concerns.

Kind Regards

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Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney We have made a change

Dear Concerned Parent

Our apologies it has taken so long to progress the purchase of toys for the waiting room but I am very pleased to be able to tell you that we have today placed a children's table and chairs, along with a number of toys, in the Outpatients Waiting Room.

I hope on your next visit your son enjoys his time in the waiting room and that it makes for a much less stressful situation for yourself.

Kind Regards

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