16 January 2024

Southampton Children's Hospital

“I will be sat in my playroom and then I hear the jingle jangle of bells walking down the corridor – and I know it’s going to be a good day!” – Natasha Allan, Play Specialist

Giggle Doctors have been a regular sight on the wards at Southampton Children’s Hospital for over 20 years, so it felt strange for both the Giggle Doctors and the play team at Southampton when they couldn’t visit during the pandemic.

Play Leader Louise Oliver told us:

“When we were able to welcome the Theodora Children’s Charity back into the hospital early this year (2023), (after Covid restrictions were lifted), it was a cause for celebration! I was absolutely delighted that Dr Ding Dong, with her familiar cheerful costume, sparkles, glitter, and jangling bells helped to fill the ward once again with laughter and happy smiles. Then recently Dr Hunky Dory has also joined the team with his wonderful guitar and singing!

“I have always loved working with the Giggle Doctor team, and have been proud to introduce them, and explain the Theodora Children’s Charity to the patients and families on the wards.  I really look forward to their visits, and we often join forces to create fun sessions that bring happy and memorable times for children and young people in the hospital.”

Louise Oliver and Dr Ding Dong

Often, it’s how the Giggle Doctors connect with children who are more difficult to reach which is so special:

“I have witnessed so many wonderful moments since they have been back, but some that particularly stand out to me are the way Dr Ding Dong interacts with my neurology patients and long-term medical patients. She always takes time to find out what she needs to know during her handover so that she can pitch her visit to the child or young person correctly, being aware of their particular needs.”

One wonderful moment was when she visited a child who was struggling to communicate as a result of her brain injury, but then repeated “Giggle Giggle” after having enjoyed bubbles, lights, farting noises and fun songs with Dr Ding Dong. It was truly amazing to hear!”

“Having Dr Ding Dong come to our ward for visits is such a valuable resource to us on Ocean Ward! I will be sat in my playroom and then I hear the jingle jangle of bells walking down the corridor- and I know it’s going to be a good day! Dr Ding Dong finds a way to engage with children of all ages whether it’s with her amazing clothes and glittery face, her various bells and horns or even her farts!! It gives me joy to see the children waiting in anticipation for Dr Ding Dong to come by and stop at their bedspace. Even after she has left the ward, parents and children continue to talk and laugh about their visit with the Giggle Doctor and it’s clear to me what an amazing impact it has had on their hospital journey.”

Natasha Allan, Play Specialist
Natasha Allan, Play Specialist

Working alongside such welcoming play staff makes visiting Southampton Children’s Hospital a real pleasure, as is supporting their amazing commitment to offering every child the best possible experience of hospital.

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