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13 June 2024

A friendly penguin in the Hywel Dda area is helping reassure children receiving care from the nuclear medicine team.

The words ‘nuclear medicine’ and ‘scan’ can sound scary whatever your age – but this is especially the case for children.

The Nuclear Medicine team at Withybush Hospital have come up with an award-winning video for children, which makes the experience a lot less scary.

The service cares for children aged from three months to 18-years-old from across the Hywel Dda area, serving Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Nuclear medicine scans can help the doctors look at your kidneys, bowel, or bones. It uses gamma radiation which is like special medicine. The gamma camera can then take pictures of where you have been given the medicine. The scan takes around 30 minutes.

Rachael Cunliffe, a Clinical Technologist, helped create the Walter the Penguin story, which is told through video. She said: “The video was created mainly for children aged between two to six years old as we saw that this is the age which can be the hardest for them to understand what is happening to them.”

The team recognised there was an opportunity to create something that children could watch before coming to their scan to help understand the process.

Radiology staff worked with play specialists from Glangwili Hospital, a paediatrician from Cardiff, the Welsh Language Team, and Digital Communications Team to create the story and video.

Rachael continued: “The video shows Walter’s adventure down to Withybush hospital for a scan. Walter is nervous but is quickly put at ease when he is warmly welcomed by staff, shown the machine, and talked through what is going to happen to him.”

The video recently won in the category of Innovative Team of the Year at the British Nuclear Medicine Society (BNMS) awards.

Rachel said: “The awards were a really great experience. I am very proud of what our team has achieved. It was amazing being able to show what we’ve created as a team and to inspire other departments not only across the UK but also from Europe. Being able to help children through what can normally be a very stressful time has been extremely rewarding. I am happy that our video has helped us to achieve this.”

James Severs, Executive Director of Therapies and Health Science commented “Congratulations to our teams involved in this project, we are so proud of the collaboration and achievement. It is important to us that out young patients feel safe at ease when they are in our care and we're delighted that Walter the Penguin is there to help.”

To read more on nuclear medicine and to watch Walter’s Adventures, please click here to visit the nuclear medicine webpages (opens in new tab).