Caption: The transformed waiting room.
8 May 2013
A Colchester hospital waiting room that is used mainly by children has been transformed thanks to charitable donations.
The orthoptic waiting room at Essex County Hospital was previously a drab room in magnolia but has been decorated and furnished with a child-friendly animal theme.
Other improvements include the purchase of a new TV set, a bookshelf and pockets for colouring sheets.
Helen Lowbridge, orthoptist, said the project had been triggered by responses to a patient survey.
"The orthoptic department carries out a patient survey every year and some of the feedback said there was not enough variety of activities available in the waiting area," she said.
"Two out of three of the patients who use the waiting room are children and the majority of them are ranged in age from babies up to seven years old.
"Therefore, we decided to transform the room to make it look welcoming and cheerful in a way that would most appeal to that age group - although we've also had very positive comments from adult patients too."
The bookshelf has been filled with children's books donated by patients, and children can also use a blackboard and play on a fruit abacus.
The cost of the project was £450 and was paid for in part by a £200 donation from Asda after customers at its store in Turner Rise, Colchester, choose to support Colchester Hospitals Charity (CoHoC).
The remaining money came from funds raised by Freemason Brian Doolin during his year in office as Master of the William of Colchester Lodge (Freemasons).
Mr Doolin, of Dedham Road, Boxted, made a donation because his son Reece was given spectacles by staff at Essex County Hospital six months after his birth in 1991.
Orthoptics literally means "straight eyes". It is the study of development of vision, depth perception, eye movements, eye alignment and the ability to use the eyes together as a pair.