Poorly children can now arrive to surgery in style – driving miniature electric cars.
Three remote-controlled vehicles are available to young patients at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Each of the Mercedes cars, which were donated to the hospital, are suitable for youngsters about to undergo non-emergency operations.
While kids en route to theatre can press buttons and move the steering wheel, the mini cars are remote controlled by adults to avoid bumps and crashs.
The majority of little drivers are elective surgery patients from Ward 76.
Three-year-old Thomas Brennan was one of the first youngsters get behind the wheel before his operation.
Thomas’ mum Lisa Brown said: “Thomas has had more than 16 operations and he often gets anxious before surgery – he knows when we’re heading down the corridor what’s going to happen.
“Because he is deaf he is very visual and the look and feel of the car really excited him. It completely took his mind off the surgery. His face lit up riding in the car.”
Thomas was born in December 2015 with a number of health conditions. His main issues have been respiratory problems, a cleft lip and palate, ophthalmology problems, a missing thumb, one kidney and he is also profoundly deaf.
He has also been diagnosed with VACTERL association1 – a disorder affecting many body systems.
Lisa, who lives in Burnley, added: “He loved every minute of it and all the worry just left when he rode the car to surgery.
“He was waving at all the staff as he went – he was like the Queen doing her royal wave.”
Lead nurse Walter Tann said: “These cars will really improve the patient and family experience when heading down to surgery.
“It’s not only a welcome distraction for the children, but the parents enjoy taking photos and seeing their child having fun before they head into surgery.
“We’re currently using them at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Children having surgery at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital can also ride in style if they meet the criteria.
“We’re hoping to be able to send cars to our Starlight Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital and our children’s ward at Trafford General too.”
The cars were donated by Medacs Healthcare.
Money to purchase the cars was raised through direct sponsorship and a number of staff initiatives.