Sheffield Children's Hospital joins Super Saturday drive to deal with Covid backlogs

NHS children’s hospitals are holding hundreds of appointments at extra clinics on Saturday to help deal with record backlogs caused by the pandemic.
Sheffield Childrens Hospital. Picture Scott MerryleesSheffield Childrens Hospital. Picture Scott Merrylees
Sheffield Childrens Hospital. Picture Scott Merrylees

The so-called "Super Saturday" drive is part of the National Paediatric Accelerator Programme, an initiative at 10 hospitals trying to tackle long waiting lists.

The day will also see the use of innovative techniques, including virtual reality equipment, as well as Lego and tours of hospital facilities to help youngsters feel more at ease.

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The event comes as the NHS announces patients will be able to see a GP on Saturdays and in the evenings to help it cope with backlogs.

NHS England data published in February revealed a record 6.1 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of December - the highest number since records began in August 2007.

Alexandra Norrish, national director of the programme, said: "The pandemic has inevitably had a knock-on effect on non-urgent care, but our incredible staff are still pulling out all the stops to rapidly recover routine services, and since the paediatric accelerator programme was launched last year we have already seen 37,000 additional appointments.

"Local teams continue to go above and beyond for patients, and through events like today's paediatric Super Saturday we are ensuring as many children as possible benefit from the world-class care the NHS provides."

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As part of the drive, Sheffield Children's Hospital will be asking families about any barriers they experience attending appointments with the help of Lego bricks.

The scheme uses the Lego Serious Play methodology, which supposes people can express their views and ideas more easily by creating something.

A "sensory-friendly" vaccination clinic is also being held at Concord Leisure Centre in Sheffield for children and young people with autism and learning disabilities.