North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) is rolling out virtual reality technology to help children coming in for surgery.

Fran Greenaway, play specialist, Julie Whitton, senior charity officer, Shun Yamanaka, trainee anaesthetist, Jane Dickinson, nurse on Day Surgery Unit and Dr Rob Conway, anaesthetist with Carol Grant and Dawn Blackmore from Marshalls.Fran Greenaway, play specialist, Julie Whitton, senior charity officer, Shun Yamanaka, trainee anaesthetist, Jane Dickinson, nurse on Day Surgery Unit and Dr Rob Conway, anaesthetist with Carol Grant and Dawn Blackmore from Marshalls.

The new virtual reality headset kits have become a reality thanks to donations to the hospital's Over and Above charity from Barnstaple pub Marshalls.

After the pub raised £1,400 for the charity, staff on the day surgery unit at NDDH purchased the kids, which allow children to take a virtual tour of the hospital and the surgery unit.

The headsets are posted to the child's home before they come in for surgery, and parents can download an app to their phone and attach it to the headset.

The technology also offers parents and children an explanation of what will happen on the day of the surgery using language tailored to the child's age.

Play specialist Fran Greenaway said: "Coming into hospital can be quite a scary experience for children. What can make a huge difference is building familiarity with the things that they will see before they come in for their procedure.

"We do lots of things to help prepare children before they come into hospital, but these virtual reality kits are a really wonderful addition to the techniques we are already using.

"Parents can use this with their children at home at a time that suits them and as often as they like - and they're a lot of fun."

Marshalls has been a long-standing supporter of Over and Above, and has raised thousands of pounds to support patients, particularly for the Caroline Thorpe Ward and the Seamoor Unit.

Dr Rob Conway, consultant anaesthetist, said: "These headsets are a really simple but effective way of using virtual reality technology to help our patients.

"Thank you to staff and supporters at Marshalls pub for their kind donation, and thank you to the staff in the Day Surgery Unit and across the Trust who have helped to bring this technology to our patients."