This is the second extract from the Therapeutic play manager History of Play at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
When the children’s ward moved from the Old Site in 1973 it was split across two wards C2 (Medical cases) and D2 (Surgical cases). Up until this time Addenbrooke’s staffing on the paediatric wards was done by the nursing staff and nursery nurses catering for the play needs of the children. An article in the ‘Addenbrooke’s News’ August 1974 written by, Hazel Halter, Principle Nursing Officer, highlighted that for a long time the hospital’s Children’s wards needed ‘..some kind of organised play for the children….’ She also stated that the duties of nurses were taking them away from having time to meet the play needs of the children. It was also made clear that such a role would be seen as part of the therapeutic team and would ‘…..not only…. relieve the staff, but also some of the hard-pressed relatives who often feel they neglect other children left at home in order to spend time playing and just being with their sick child.’
To put this post in place there had been much work completed on finding funding and it was with the support of the National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital and The Save the Children Fund that a solution was found and money was raised to fund the first post of ‘Play Leader ‘on Ward D2. This was initially set up as a two year experiment and if it proved successful the hospital would take up the funding of the role. The fundraising was undertaken by a committee which consisted of representatives from of all the children’s organisations in Cambridge, Pre-School Playgroup Association, Cambridge Playbus Group and the hospital.