We work closely with the whole family and many health professionals, both inside and outside the hospital.

We also provide teaching, training and mentorship training for Health Play Specialist Degree students and many other students and professional visitors.

We offer a patient referral system to help many children and teenagers who are attending RMCH and other Trust hospitals/services who have additional or special needs, fears, autism or are unsure of the hospital environment and require further help and support.

These referrals (via playservices@mft.nhs.uk ) come from doctors, surgeons, pre-admission nurses, ward or department nurses, anaesthetists, paediatricians/GPs, disability nurses, psychologists and allied health professionals such as physios. Parents, health professionals and students can also contact our department for advice, guidance and information – telephone 0161 701 0698.

We also offer a Health Play Specialist ‘on call’ system. This helps patients, when possible, who require our input at short notice, if the Health Play Specialist linked to their ward/department area is not available at the time or with another patient.

We provide play, recreation and activities to assist patient development, relieve boredom, aid recovery and create a child and young person friendly environment – leading to a positive ethos and a good patient experience.

Our team assists medical and nursing staff by helping patients to prepare for procedures, treatments and surgery. We also offer distraction, diversional and participation therapies for patients undergoing procedures and treatments, with support and guidance to families and staff too.

Our service also plans to provide a positive patient experience and environment working in partnership with other services, wards and departments. The team ensures there is a variety of events and visitors throughout the year – which increases during December! We work very closely with the hospital charity team to provide a range of special events and visits for patients, families and staff.

Watch this video to find out more about what we do.

Parents and carers can find out more about developmental play, therapeutic play and specialised play at these links.

When children and young people have life-limiting illnesses, we also work closely with other colleagues to provide the best possible end of life care and support everyone in the family.

Contact us

Children and young people are usually referred to our team by hospital staff, their GP, consultant or other health professionals. However, we are always happy to proved advice and information to parents and carers.

Head of Service: Susan Fairclough is the Therapeutic and Specialised Play Service Manager/Events Lead. Contact her on 0161 701 5652 or 0161 276 1234 and ask for bleep number 1277.

Therapeutic and Specialised Play Centre – tel: 0161 701 0698


  • Award Winners ‘Outstanding Achievement ‘ Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
  • Award Winners ‘Support Team of the Year’ Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Award Highly Commended – We’re Proud of You’– Innovation, Improvement and Efficiency.
  • Award Finalists PEN National Awards – Patient Experience Network National Award: Environment of Care.

Specialist Publications

Developed and published by Health Play Specialist Yvie Morley – Therapeutic and Specialised Play Service.

‘’Learning how to catheterise’’ these are diaries for children to complete when learning to self- catheterise  There are separate male and female versions that have now been published by Wellspect Health Care and are used in both English and European hospitals.

‘’My Bladder assessment’’. Is a 2 week bladder assessment programme made into a workbook for children to complete as part of the daytime wetting service. These have also now have been published by Wellspect Health.

Soon to be published  and in the clinical practice recommendations for needling Arteriovenous Fistulae for Haemodialysis.

Messy Play Therapy in the Treatment of Food Aversion in a Patient with Intestinal Failure.