Special time at kids' ward

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
Xmas Cheer

CHRISTMAS CHEER: Christmas is a big occasion this year for kids in the Rangatira ward. From left: Dr Meia Schmidt-Uili, Annemarie Wen, 6, Claudia Wen, 5, Rhonda Butler and Dr Chris Peterson.

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It's the first Christmas to be celebrated in the new paediatric ward at Waitakere Hospital so staff and patients are doing it in style.

And it's all thanks to a helping hand from the community.

The Rangatira ward has been decorated with themed red and green Christmas decorations to make sure children in hospital during Christmas will not miss out on the festive season.

Decorations have been donated by LynnMall, Mitre 10 Mega Lincoln Rd and Te Atatu Ladies Probus Club.

LynnMall has also donated a talking reindeer named Buck to greet people.

Rangatira ward clerk Rhonda Butler says it is the best place to work during Christmas.

"We try to make it fun for them and we try to get toys and things donated so the kids can get presents on Christmas day."

Play specialist Tiana Brookes tries to collect presents suitable for every possible age group.

"We do struggle for donated Christmas presents though because a lot of the presents are sent to Starship," she says.

Waitakere Hospital child health clinical director Dr Meia Schmidt-Uili says the decorations make a big difference to how the children feel during Christmas.

"Christmas Day is one of the days I look forward to going to work because the ward is such a happy place."

Dr Schmidt-Uili says Christmas will see health professionals working together in the community.

"Paediatricians will be going out into the community to work alongside GPs. We have a great paediatric service but it's also about meeting what our families need," he says. "We want families to have faith in their local GPs and be able to turn to them over the Christmas period."

He says parents should visit their local GP first with their child's minor health issues and injuries before visiting the emergency department.

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