HUNDREDS of people descended on Airedale Hospital when the operating theatres opened their doors to the public.

Saturday’s event gave visitors a chance to look behind the scenes of the department.

People could learn more about how the body works, using Sidney the skeleton, ‘fix’ broken bones and get hands-on with surgical equipment.

Careers information was available for people interested in working in the NHS.

Other attractions included a tombola. Proceeds will go towards improvements in the theatres department, including wall murals to create a more welcoming environment for children.

Katie Lister, head of communications at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was a fantastic day for all those who came along – and in particular the event helps children, who may have to attend hospital, to feel more comfortable in the surroundings.

“These visits really help demystify hospital procedures and take away any fears.”

Meanwhile, young patients and staff have been celebrating National Play in Hospital Week.

There was a host of activities on the children’s unit, including visits from the police, Pets as Therapy dog Skye, Superman, a bumblebee and a storm trooper.

The national week was started in 2010 to raise awareness of the positive impact play can have on sick children and young people in a hospital setting.

At Airedale Hospital, play specialist Katrina Embleton and play leader Karen Reece offer a service whereby staff can call on them to support and distract any young patient who may for example be afraid of needles or is having blood taken.

The team also works with children who attend hospital regularly, to help make their visits a more positive experience and reduce fears and anxiety.

Katrina said: “We always look forward to National Play in Hospital Week, as both staff and patients enjoy it so much.

“It’s a celebration of play and about making hospitals fun, as well as emphasising the different types of distraction and activities that we do on the ward.

“Every child needs to play and that’s the normal thing for them – the children who are in hospital would all play if they were at home.”