A SCHEME has been devised to make appointments at Colchester General Hospital more fun for children.

Children attending the allergy service will be given an “adventure passport” when they arrive and will have it stamped at each stage of their journey through the department.

These include including arriving in the waiting room, having a skin prick test and being weighed and measured.

Once they have collected all their stamps they will receive a certificate to take home.

SandyBirkett, children’s asthma/ allergy nurse specialist at the hospital, said: “The passports are already proving popular with children and parents.

“They are a great way of engaging with children and making them more aware of their allergy.

“Sometimes, they and their parents spend a considerable amount of time in clinic and we have found that the passport takes their mind off the fact that they’re in hospital and helps to pass the time.”

About 30 children visit the service every week.


Hailey Phillips, from Grays, set up Allergy Adventures last year because her niece has an egg allergy, and has been working with the hospital team to introduce it in Colchester.

She has also created educational storybooks featuring different allergies, including gluten, wheat and nuts.

The stories teach children about living with allergies and reinforce the importance of staying safe around food.

Dr Bhupi Sihra, a paediatric consultant who leads the service and is an allergist, said: “Children can spend a long time waiting to see the various specialist team members.

When asked, parents and children frequently say the time spent waiting to be seen can be the most boring part of the clinic visit and can also lead to the children worrying about what is going to happen to them.

“The allergy adventure passport initiative helps to address these issues.”