Angel Place Shopping Centre has donated the gift of an iPad to Bridgwater Community Hospital’s minor injury unit for use by children and toddlers as a method of ‘distraction’ whilst they are being assessed and treated.

The Angel Place management team was approached by Craig Lancaster, an associate nurse at Bridgwater Community Hospital – and a former security guard at the shopping centre for 18 years – for assistance on a project looking at ways of entertaining and distracting children and young people who are receiving treatment and procedures for sometimes painful injuries.

With a large proportion of admissions to the minor injury unit at Bridgwater Community Hospital being children, the use of the iPad will hopefully assist staff in ‘distracting and entertaining’ the young patients.

“It has been wonderful to hear from Craig again and catch up on how his career in healthcare is progressing so successfully,” a spokesperson for Angel Place said. “The team at the hospital works incredibly hard to provide the best care for the community and this donation is wonderful.”

“A trip to the hospital can be quite an unsettling situation for adults to be in and even more so for little ones. The addition of the iPad and a child-friendly environment will offer some additional solace to visitors and we fully support Craig and the team’s efforts with this brilliant project.”

The team at the hospital arranged visits to local schools and through discussions, pictures and artwork, youngsters shared their ideas on how the service should look and feel.

Craig, who is also studying for a degree in nursing and science with a special interest in paediatrics, said: “It was incredibly important that we had input from the amazing minds of younger members of the community, as they may at some point in their childhood need to pay a visit to the unit themselves. The facilities are for them, so the design and accessories have reflected their needs accordingly.”

Mike Paynter, the consultant nurse for the service, has said that children represent 27% of all patients attending the unit and that looking after the young patients requires not just clinical and technical skills but a special level of empathy and engagement is needed when treating the both young patients and anxious parents.

The summertime and school holidays represent a busy period for Somerset’s minor injury service and are usually associated with an increase in children’s attendances. Mike Paynter urges that for minor injuries and illness, people use their local minor injury service and keep Musgrove Park Hospital’s emergency department free for life threatening emergencies.

If anyone is in doubt as to which service to use, they should initially phone NHS111 for 24-hour expert advice and guidance.