How staff at a children's hospital are helping young patients travel to treatment in style

Tommy Joe Bulmer, from Sunderland, goes in the car.
Tommy Joe Bulmer, from Sunderland, goes in the car.

Children feeling worried about going for treatment will now have a new way to travel through hospital.

Staff at the Great North Children’s Hospital have come up with a novel way of helping anxious young patients who are visiting the treatment theatre.

The children can now drive themselves there in a remote-controlled sports car.

Tommy Joe Bulmer, from Sunderland, has already taken the motor for a spin.

The seven-year-old arrived on ward 14 in the hospital's oncology department and took part in school activities, singing and arts and crafts.

But when the time came for the youngster to go to theatre, he became visibly anxious.

Tommy Joe is being treated for leukaemia.

Nursery nurse Lisa Ternent explained that one of Tommy Joe's earlier visits to theatre was upsetting for him and his mum, with the experience leaving him nervous and distressed.

She said: "Before his next visit, while we waited in theatre reception, I tried to distract him by playing on the 3D TV, although you could see he was still very anxious.

"Alison, the volunteer in theatre, suggested we use the car for Tommy Joe to go down to the ‘sleepy room’.

“When she brought it out you could see he was very excited. He climbed inside and fastened his seatbelt. Within no time he was away, changing gear and beeping the horn. Everyone gathered around and cheered him on.”

Tommy Joe hit the road to the sleepy room and parked up to have his checks carried out and a photograph taken.

Full of smiles, he then drove all the way down the corridor to the sleepy room.

Lisa added: “Once we reached the ‘fairy room’ he again parked up and removed his seat belt, before running into the sleepy room and climbing up onto the bed.

"As he lay calmly on the bed he talked about his car ride.

“Once he was asleep, his mum told me that she couldn't believe the difference in him and how this experience was much more positive for both Tommy Joe and herself.”