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How a simple change helped make an A&E department more child-friendly


Small and simple changes can help make a big difference to people's experiences of health and social care. Find out how a hospital has helped make visits easier for children after one mum spoke up.

Helen took her daughter to Airedale General Hospital’s A&E department following a fall. But when she came to use the toilet within the children’s area, Helen’s daughter found it had been set at adult height and that it was difficult for her to reach the seat. 

Helen mentioned this to the Healthwatch Bradford team, who were visiting the hospital to find out what people thought of A&E. They produced a report detailing their findings, and calling for changes, including provision of a step in the children’s toilet.

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The staff in A&E were pleased to be made aware of this problem and ordered the step, as requested. Thanks to Helen – and all the other people who spoke up about their experiences – hospital staff are putting a range of changes in place to make visiting A&E better.

A consultant in the Emergency Medicine department said:

“The Healthwatch report gave us a great insight into what it is like to be a patient in our department. As a member of staff, I have never used the toilets in the children’s waiting room, and would never have thought about a step for it, and it was so easy to sort. It has taken us longer to tackle some of the other issues raised, but the report has spurred us on to further improve the service we deliver.”

Thanks to this straightforward idea, the A&E team has reviewed the children’s area and is making further changes, such as adjusting the layout of the baby changing space and putting signs on the breastfeeding room.


The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.

You can make a difference. Find out more about our #ItStartsWithYou campaign or share your experience with your local Healthwatch and help make services better for your community. 

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