Press release: Public to be given "unprecedented" insight into workings of an NHS hospital


Members of the public will be given an “unprecedented” insight into the workings of an NHS hospital at an action-packed open day on Saturday (8 September).

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s annual event, which attracts visitors from across the UK, will be opened by teenage pop sensation Donel Mangena with the support of Radio Lollipop.

The city-based star, who came runner-up in The Voice UK 2018, will be unveiled as an ambassador for Southampton Children’s Hospital and will perform his debut single Bang Like a Drum before meeting guests and taking in some of the day’s activities.

More than 100 events and information stands will be open to enable visitors to go behind the scenes of one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals, covering everything from cancer research, critical care and maternity, to diabetes, medicine for older people and neonatal services.

Donel SCHVisitors will be able to try on beer goggles and ‘walk the line’ with the alcohol care team, construct a DNA double helix with jelly beans, go inside air and land ambulances, try on a pregnancy belly and find out about the pioneering enhanced dementia care ward.

There will also be opportunities to see the cardiac catheterisation laboratories, where doctors use state-of-the-art imaging equipment to diagnose and treat heart conditions, and tour the operating theatres.

Other highlights include an inflatable MRI scanner, the teddy bear hospital, photo opportunities with the hawks and falcons who keep watch over the hospital grounds and a chance to see the refurbished nuclear medicine department, where radioactive materials are used to investigate parts of the body.

In addition, there will be a focus on the children’s emergency and trauma department appeal, led by Southampton Hospital Charity and The Murray Parish Trust, which has so far raised £1.38 million of a £2 million fundraising target.

Construction of the new £5.1 million department, which will see the appeal total matched by the government and a further £1.1 million from UHS, began in April and is expected to see more than 30,000 youngsters every year from across the south of England.

To mark the appeal, visitors will be offered the chance to become honorary emergency nurses, with the chance to perform simulated observations and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, view x-rays and see a makeshift intensive care unit.

There will be tours of children’s radiology to provide an insight into what can be expected in the new department, with a satellite x-ray room set to be among the first completed phases of the build.

“Our open day is always a remarkable event which is fun and educational for all the family but also a great way to engage the public, patients, visitors and staff with the NHS and the variety of people, skills and careers it brings together in providing care,” said Gail Byrne, director of nursing at UHS.

“This year will provide an unprecedented insight into an NHS hospital and I can’t think of another place where people would be able to tour operating theatres, try on a pregnancy belly, become an honorary nurse, take a selfie with a hawk and meet a pop star in the same place on the same day – it is simply fascinating.”

The open day takes place on Saturday (8 September) from 10.30am to 3.30pm at Southampton General Hospital with free visitor parking for the duration of the event. For more information, visit

Posted on Monday 3 September 2018