Yesterday, Queen’s Hospital had the pleasure of being visited by Monkey from Monkey Wellbeing, who came to see our Pathology lab as well as some of our wards. Monkey Wellbeing is an organisation that works with the NHS to provide helpful and fun materials for children who are visiting hospital to help them understand what may happen.
They have also been working in collaboration with Harvey’s Gang, an initiative that encourages labs to organise visits for children who regularly use their services, for example, children who need regular transfusions or blood tests. This helps the children understand what happens to their blood, and a fun visit to the lab can make hospital seem less scary. They’ve made a short film of Monkey touring the lab too, so that children who are too poorly to visit can still take a look and our labs at Queen’s Hospital regularly welcome children to visit as part of the collaboration.
Monkey Wellbeing launched in 2009, after founder Helen’s daughter had to undergo surgery. Helen found that there were no child friendly materials to help her daughter understand what was going to happen. She went on to create her own storybooks that help children understand what hospital will be like. In the storybooks, Monkey is pictured around the hospital with equipment that children may encounter. Monkey Wellbeing have also released a downloadable asthma poster and plan, which be found on their website, as well as other materials.
Harvey’s Gang was launched in 2014 by Worthing Hospital’s chief biomedical scientist in blood transfusion, Malcolm Robinson, after an 8-year-old boy named Harvey visited the lab to see what happened to his blood. Harvey sadly lost his battle with leukaemia shortly after the visit, and the lab named one of their analysers after him. Harvey’s Gang make lab coats and goody bags for the children, and have expanded to 47 sites across the UK and the abroad. You can read more about Harvey’s Gang on their website.
While visiting the lab, Monkey also found out what happens to blood that is kindly donated and can help save lives. To find out how you can give blood, visit the blood donation website.
We look forward to seeing Monkey around the hospital again in the future!