More than 100 children from Tower Hamlets primary schools attended a safety day run by undergraduate medical and dental students at Queen Mary, University of London this week (24 April).
The annual event is run by Teddy Bear Hospital, a student society which aims to help children lose their fear of doctors and dentists in a playful way, while also educating them on topics including healthy eating, oral hygiene and hand-washing.
Around 120 children from three local schools – Shapla Primary School, Stewart Headlam Primary School and Mowlem Primary School – attended the day, which also featured presentations from the police and fire service, and included the chance for the children to explore a fire engine.
In addition to learning about bike safety and general first aid, the children were able to get their hands on stethoscopes and were given insights into MRI machines and X-rays in a bid to make them more comfortable with the idea of the medical profession.
Shahrzad Zonoozi, President of the Teddy Bear Hospital and a fourth-year medical student at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, said: “Teddy Bear Hospital is a great initiative which helps to relieve the anxieties that children may have when visiting the doctor or dentist and it is also a great way for medical and dental students to interact.
“Thank you very much to the emergency services and all our volunteers for their time and effort into making safety day this year another huge success. Hopefully we can continue to improve and expand on this annual event.”
During the day the children also had a chance to experience some of the interactive games in Centre of the Cell, Queen Mary’s award-winning science education centre.
Tim Barnes, Head Teacher at Shapla Primary School, who has been supporting the Teddy Bear Hospital initiative for a number of years thinks it has benefits both for the students, in terms of professional development, and for the children by helping to introduce them to the medical profession.
He said: “One problem for children is that doctors and dentists are these people who are up above them, but by coming to this they see that they are real people. The event is a real eye-opener for the children.”
The safety day is an annual event but throughout the year the Teddy Bear Hospital runs "clinics" at local schools, involving more than 100 students from the medical and dental school. The scheme won the Volunteer Award at this year’s Barts and The London Student Association Dinner.
For more information on Teddy Bear Hospital visit www.teddybear-hospital.co.uk
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