A PLAY team is helping young patients at Airedale Hospital.

Staff can call on its services seven days a week, to support or distract children undergoing treatment.

The team also works with youngsters who attend the Steeton site regularly.

Play specialist Katrina Embleton is currently helping two children.

"One has a feeding tube and has been experiencing some difficulties at school in relation to the feeds – causing the child upset and stress," she said.

"We also have a child who is 18 months old and having regular treatment. We start with small steps, by working to desensitise them to the blood pressure cuff – which comes first in their treatment – so the child can play with it."

Katrina, who works with play leader colleague Karen Reece, added: "Play distraction is proven to make a huge difference to children's experience of hospitals.

"The hospital is a strange environment for the child – it's worrying because it is not their norm – so you are trying to normalise the situation for them.

"If children are afraid, their journey through hospital can feel a lot longer, so hopefully with our help they can get through it."