A NEW app has been introduced at Barnsley Hospital to help young patients get ready for surgery.

The Little Journey smartphone app is a guide that takes children and their carers on a tour from the waiting room to the operating room around the hospital, all through smartphone devices.

Imagine animated doctors, nurses, popping up on your screen, ready to show you around and answer all your questions. There are characters like a koala nurse and a rhinoceros doctor who are designed to help youngsters feel at ease.

This app is free and aims to make kids and their families feel more comfortable about going to the hospital for surgery.

Dr. Andy Leeson was a key driver and thinks it's fantastic. He said: “Children coming into hospital for a procedure is a big deal for both the child and their carers, with the biggest source of worry often being not knowing what to expect when they get here.

“Little Journey helps to simplify this by allowing them to explore the actual setting they will be coming to with each step along the way being explained to them in ways they can understand with friendly characters. Combine this with a VR headset and they can feel like they are actually here. Also once the date of a child’s procedure is entered to the app they will receive helpful messages to help them get ready for coming to hospital and advice once their procedure is over.”

The hospital teamed up with Little Sparks who have developed the Little Journey app. It's perfect for kids and teens, aged three to 16, who are getting ready for surgery. It's already been well-received in other hospital trusts.

A hospital spokeman said: “The app gives you a sneak peek into all the places you'll visit at the hospital. Plus, there are videos explaining everything you need to know about surgery. Parents are covered too, there's a special section just for you with useful info, checklists, and even a relaxing breathing exercise.

“Feeling nervous before surgery is totally normal, but knowing what to expect can help ease those jitters. That's why we want you to have this app. When your surgery is scheduled, we'll make sure you get all the details to download it at home.”

Head to Google Play or the App Store and download the Little Journey app today. The app makes the hospital journey a little more fun and a lot less scary for children and parents.