North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which operates both Peterborough City and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals have been part of the scheme since 2003 and share the bears with children to comfort them, reward them for their bravery and demonstrate procedures.
The three millionth bear was presented to Jackie James, Play Specialist at Peterborough City Hospital, in the hospital’s Amazon Children’s Garden, by Dr David Staples a hospital clinician and CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England, the charitable organisation behind the Teddies for Loving Care initiative.
Jackie said: “The Teddies for Loving Care bears are very special to us in the Emergency Department and have a wonderful, positive impact on children who are receiving care.”
Children are often first met by a bear when they arrive at the hospital’s Emergency Department to provide comfort and reassurance, in what can be a scary and unknown environment. The bears are used to demonstrate procedures, with doctors and nurses often showing children the procedures on the bear, before performing on children.
Jackie continued: “When a child first arrives at hospital not only are they feeling unwell but they may also be feeling scared and anxious. I like to meet children off an ambulance with a bear to provide some comfort and help make them feel at ease. The bears are also a great way of showing children what to expect from different procedures. I’ve seen a number of bears leave the hospital with matching bandages.”
Joel Harrison, Chief Finance Officer for North West Anglia NHS, also present at the ceremony, said: “It is an honour to receive the three millionth teddy bear on behalf of all hospital trusts across the UK. It’s wonderful to know that so many bears have been shared with children, across the country, who are receiving care from our hospitals.
“The generosity of the Teddies for Loving Care initiative is gratefully received and very much appreciated by staff and children alike.”
Dr David Staples added: “We are delighted to be able to present the three millionth bear from ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ initiative to the hard working staff at Peterborough City Hospital. As a doctor, who also works at this hospital, I know how important these bears can be; both for the children who receive them and the staff who give them.
“This simple but effective idea was started by Freemasons in Essex in 2001 and since then has been rolled out across the England and Wales. The appeal also benefits the community through the A&E departments that serve them and Freemasons will continue their efforts to donate these bears nationwide to children when they are at their most vulnerable.”