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Local hospitals make x-ray child’s play

radiology launch

radiology launch

Pictured: The newly decorated 'Rainbow Corner' at University Hospital of North Durham. Part of the new children's radiology service.

Children attending for x-rays and other scans at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust are benefiting from an improved paediatric radiology service dedicated to ensuring they have the best possible experience.

Children's radiology teams are usually only found at specialist hospitals and regional centres but now this service is available for young patients across County Durham and Darlington.

A range of child-friendly changes are being introduced at Darlington Memorial Hospital (DMH) and University Hospital of North Durham (UHND), including children-only lists which  offer longer appointment slots to enable staff to spend more time talking to, and reassuring, children and their parents. This helps them adopt, and remain in, the correct position for the duration of the examination.

Younger children in particular can find scanning rooms, and the x-ray process, frightening, which can lead to substandard x-rays images and undue stress.

Dr Elizabeth Loney, Clinical Director of Radiology, at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, "A significant proportion of children attending hospital will require an x-ray or other scan, for example, to determine if they have suffered a fracture following a fall.   Extra time spent with them ensuring they are comfortable and happy results in higher quality images, facilitating accurate diagnosis.

"We hope that taking time to explain to a child and their carers what will happen during the test, making sure they are not afraid, and creating a relaxed environment will improve their overall experience."

Both hospitals now have children's waiting areas within their Radiology Departments, which are filled with toys and each has a large mural depicting a 'Knights and Dragons' theme at DMH and a 'Woodlands and Rainbow' theme at UHND.

radiology launch DMH

'Knight's Corner' at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Pictures and colours are projected onto the scan room walls, and radiographers wear colourful uniforms, to help children feel comfortable and calm.

'I feel it is important to relay my experience back to let the staff know they are doing a brilliant job! I would like them to know I appreciated all they did for myself, my family and our beautiful baby girl.'

Patient, Labour Ward, Darlington Memorial Hospital