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Welcome to the NAHPS Website

NAHPS is a charity which promotes the physical and mental well being of children and young people who are patients in hospital, hospice or receiving medical care at home.

The charity aims to promote high professional standards for play staff, and to ensure the provision of appropriate therapeutic and stimulating play in hospital. NAHPS provides professional support for all health play staff.

Please explore the website for further details about the Association. 


* Job Vacancy at UCLH*

Senior Health Play Specialist Band 5 1.0WTE

UCLH Play and Youth Services Team.  Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNE).

University College London Hospital is looking for a Senior Health Play Specialist to join our Play Service Team.

Are you a qualified Health Play Specialist, who thrives on variety and wants to develop your work with children and young people?  Do you enjoy working closely with a wide range of health professionals? Would you like to grow your skills within a Play Service where your development will be supported and encouraged?  Do you want to be part of a team that has a clear career structure with opportunities for staff to progress? If the answer to all these questions is ‘yes’, then come and join us!

We are looking for a Play Specialist who has proven experience of working with children and young people in a healthcare setting, who is committed to providing high quality care to children and young people attending RNTNE for surgery and for a wide range of outpatient clinics.  The post works across various areas and departments within RNTNE and works closely with the MDT to support children, young people and their families with all aspects of ENT from minor procedures such as putting in grommets to major complex head and neck surgery. The ENT out-patient department provides both routine and specialist clinics. The successful candidate will implement specialised play interventions throughout the busy hospital environment.  You will need to be able to engage easily with children and young people, be able to work effectively with your multi-disciplinary team colleagues and use therapeutic play techniques creatively in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Responsibilities will include supporting children and young people attending clinic, leading alternative focus activities during procedures, creating an age appropriate welcoming environment throughout the departments and helping patients and families manage anxiety effectively. This role works autonomously within RNTNE, however, works closely with other members of the MDT as well as being part of the Play and Youth Services Team at UCLH, who provide structured career and professional development, support and guidance to this post.

The successful applicant will need to be passionate and committed to effectively meet the needs of children, young people and their families throughout the setting, as well as promote the value of play in healthcare.

The RNTNE is a specialist hospital, with over 130 years of history and is the UK and Europe’s centre for audiological medicine and research. It is recognised internationally as a Centre of Excellence, unique in the breadth of knowledge and specialities represented on one site on Gray's Inn Road, Central London.  In 2019, services currently provided at the RNTNE will move to a new building on Huntley Street. The new state-of-the-art centre has been co-designed with patients and staff and supports UCLH’s vision to provide top quality patient care, excellent education and world class research. Moving closer to other UCLH sites will mean that the centre will be part of the hub of University College Hospital sites.  This post will be paramount in enabling play services to continue to provide high quality care to children and young people during the transition to and within the new state of the art building. 


The post holder will need to be able to work flexible hours to meet the needs of the service as and when required. The Play and Youth Services Team consists of 24 qualified and registered Health Play Specialists & Activity Co-ordinators and 1 qualified Youth Worker lead by a Play Services Manager who will actively support your professional development.

The Foundation Degree in ‘Healthcare Play Specialism’, Edex /BTEC in ‘Specialised Play for the Sick Child’ or the previous HPSC/HPSEB, or international equivalent, is a requirement for this post along with current registration with HPSET. Students currently undertaking the FdA ‘Healthcare Play Specialism’ are welcome to apply.

To apply:

For more information about how to apply for this post and for access to the job description, application form and background information please visit the NHS Jobs website.


Closing date: Thursday 23rd March 2017

Interview date:  TBC but will be either Wednesday 29th/ Thursday 30th or Friday 31st March 2017

All shortlisted candidates will be informed of the interview date and time on Friday 24th March.


If you would like further information or you would like to arrange an informal visit, which we strongly encourage, please contact Irene O’Donnell; UCLH Play Services Manager Irene.O’ or Jenny Oliver; UCLH Deputy Play Services Manager Telephone: 0845 155 5000 ex 74626

Link for vacancy:

HPSET Online Survey

Message from Tina Clegg..

“ At the Spring NAHPS Conference held in Dundee delegates raised their concerns regarding the lack of training opportunities in Scotland.  I promised that I would organise a survey  to gather data to support the writing of a business case with the University of West London.  The survey is now open   Please can I ask that those who would and could attend a course in Scotland complete the survey.  I will feedback the survey results at the NAHPS Spring Conference in Edinburgh and on the HPSET website.  Thank you Tina Clegg, Chair HPSET

* Please complete the survey by clicking the link above *


Call for Abstracts

The National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS) is pleased to announce their 42th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting.

PLAY- At the heart of quality patient experience.

This will be held at UCLH in London on Friday 23rd June 2017.

We welcome abstract submissions from Health Play Specialists working within children and young people’s health.

We also welcome abstract submissions from other individuals or groups of professionals working alongside Health Play Specialists within the multidisciplinary team.

The closing date for submission of abstracts is
Friday 10th March 2017

  • Presenters are limited to a maximum of two abstract submissions
  • Abstracts will be selected through a review process by the NAHPS Executive Committee
  • If your abstract submission does not follow the submission guidelines, your submission may be eliminated from the selection process

Abstract review process

All abstracts will be considered by evaluating the following:

  • The quality of their expected content (i.e. the submission clearly outlined background/literature review, purpose, outcomes; relevance to conference themes, evidence of efficacy in the workplace, a contribution to the multidisciplinary team and good reflective practice)
  • The quality of the abstract organisation, as it is received by NAHPS (i.e. the submission complies with content and presentation guidelines)
  • The quality of writing that is demonstrated.

Submission guidelines:
Topic: Abstract topics should reflect the overall conference theme – a celebration of the work of Health Play Specialists over the past 40 years and pushing the boundaries for a greater presence of play for children and young people in hospitals and healthcare settings. Abstract submissions should focus one or more of the following sub-themes:
Involving children/young people in their health care

  •         Improving Patient experience
  •         Innovation in the workplace/New projects
  •         Service development and leadership
  •         Resilience and coping
  •         Therapeutic play
  •         Supporting children/young people’s mental health
  •         Supporting children/young people with additional needs

Please present to us:

A title: This should reflect the topic you are discussing.

An outline of your presentation: An abstract (maximum 600 words), including each of the following sub-sections:

Introduction including background/literature review
Purpose of presentation clearly explaining the purpose for the presentation – why it is important/relevant to practice
Significance to sub-themes: specify the sub-theme(s) to which the abstract relate to
Research/evidence-based submissions including research methodology and results
Non-research submissions: Explain the outcomes or impact of your idea/programme/topic

The type of presentation: (Specify either: Oral presentation - 25 minutes plus 5 minutes questions; Interactive workshop - suggested time approximately 45 minutes; or poster presentation)

Any equipment required: Please specify anything required in addition to PowerPoint facilities (e.g. DVD, flip chart)

Details of references:  All abstracts should include at least 2 references to support your submission. (Please use the Harvard format for references.)

Contact details: All correspondence will be by email. Where there is more than one author, one person should be designated as the primary contact.

Peg Belson Lecture

Peg Belson MBE and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health made a significant contribution to NAHPS through her relentless work in enabling others to recognize that play services for sick children is a fundamental part of health care provision.  Peg was instrumental in the early development of the hospital play specialist field in the United Kingdom, and facilitated the introduction of similar programs for family involvement and play to other countries. NAHPS is proud to host this lecture in memory of such an inspirational patron.

This lecture will be the key note lecture of the conference and chosen from the abstract submissions (anonymized for this purpose) by an impartial and independent Health Play Specialist colleague.

There is an expectation that the lecture chosen to receive the Peg Belson Memorial prize will be written up for the winter edition of the NAHPS Journal.

Confirmation of Submission:

The primary contact author will receive email confirmation of receipt of the abstract. (If you do not receive this within one week of submission, please email

You will be notified via email of acceptance or decline of each abstract submission by 3rd April 2017 


Annual Scottish Spring Study Day

National Association of Health Play Specialists

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children Edinburgh

Saturday 8th April 2017

£45 NAHPS Members      £50 Non Members

Refreshments and lunch provided

Payment is required at the time of booking please either by the delegate or by your trust.


Registration, Networking and Housekeeping


 Tina Clegg, Chair of HPSET


Norma Jun Tai, Representing NAHPS


Comfort Break 


Ishbel Proctor HPS. Play Service Coordinator RHSC

‘Developmental play in the Critical Care Unit’


Margaret McEwan HPS Neurosciences Dept. RHSC

‘Working with children who have life changing illnesses’ 


Daniel Rutherford. Adolescent Work Stream Coordinator. RHSC

‘A brief look at young people’s rights in relation to sex and the law’


Lunch and Networking


Barbara Stewart. Consultant Paediatrician NHS Lothian

with a special interest in child protection.


Janette Turnbull HPS. RHSC

‘The evolving role of the HPS within the child protection team’


Questions and Close

You and your trust can pay via BACS. Details supplied on request by

Return cheques to: NAHPS. 13 Colville Rd, Cambridge. CB1 9EJ. By the 1st April 2017

Any questions? Please email Angela White on


* Job Vacancy *

Roald Dahl Health Play Specialist Band 5

Children’s and young people’s services / play services team

Closing date - 5th February 2017


* See Job Vacancies Page for further information


Message for NAHPS Members...

If you do not receive emails from could you please email Angela White at that email address so she can update the members contact list. Also, if in the past you have received emails from NAHPS but no longer do so then please contact us on the admin email address



Save the Dates!

NAHPS Spring Study Day - RSCH Edinburgh - 8th April 2017

NAHPS AGM and Annual Conference - UCLH London -23rd June 2017 


* Job Vacancy *

Bupa Cromwell Hospital - Health Play Specialist

Closing date – Tuesday 24th January

* See Job Vacancies Page for further information


NAHPS Conference and AGM - 17 June 2016

Many thanks to all of those who attended - it was a wonderful turnout!

Also, thanks to all those who presented at this years conference

- the feedback has been extremely good! 



Cards for Bravery

Thanks to Katie who gave a truly inspirational talk at our conference on her wonderful  initiative - 'Cards for Bravery'


 Cards for Bravery is a non-profit organisation which is focused on brightening the days of hospitalised and seriously ill children & elders through positive handmade cards.


For more information, and to see how you, or your ward/department can be involved, please click on the link below

Also see:

Facebook - 'Cards for Bravery'
Instagram - @cardsforbravery
Twitter: @cardsforbravery


Professional registration is your licence to practice:

If you are due to re-register with HPSET this Dec 2016, you should have received your notification email and re-registration documents by now.

Please check your Inbox and Spam folders and if you have not received an email from HPSET, contact the Registration Co-ordinator at 



HPS in the News!!


Julia Whitaker (Registration Co-ordinator at HPSET) is involved with Upstart Scotland - a campaign to introduce a play-based kindergarten stage for 3-7 year olds into all schools in Scotland. 


She has also participated in a video from the 'Play for Health' angle - please see the links below for all the information and the video!



***The Third edition of our E-newsletter is available to read

- Click  here to view/download***



A new report by Sense - The Case for Play - available on the resource page

Click here for the link


Updated - East Anglian Regional Group - Click here for more info.. 


The 2014 Hugh Jolly Lecture 'The Power of Narrative' by Kath Evans

is now available to download from the Publications page - click here


Latest news from the East Midlands NAHPS Branch 

Available Here


The Provision of Play in Health Service Delivery Report:


Kath Evans from NHS England attended our NAHPS Exec planning meeting in September 2013. Since then, there have been discussions about funding for NAHPS to produce an evidence based report on the benefits of play that could be aimed at commissioners.

In August 2014, Kath informed Irene O'Donnell, NAHPS Chair, that we had funding to go ahead and compile the report.

Dr Alison Tonkin (Programme Lead for the FdA at Stanmore College) kindly agreed to take on this project.

This extremely insightful report is now ready to view and download.

Final Full Report

Final Summary Report

Final Appendix 1 - Summary of Research Studies 


Please note:

The above files are in pdf format - you will need Adobe Reader to view


North/North Eastern NAHPS Network - Update**

Thanks to those who have been in contact - but we still need more!!  

Any HPS in the North East of England and Cumbria region interested in joining a

New Networking Group, please contact Dan Notley at



Updated NAHPS Network Regional Branch Directory -

Please click here for more info


NAHPS in the news!

  NAHPS Chair interviewed by BBC on play specialists supporting children to have MRI's without GA 's.



** We're on Twitter !! -  @nahpsofficial and now on Facebook too!





Articles are welcomed from members and non members.

Please submit articles to Cath Hubbuck, production editor of the journal at 

Guidelines for submitting an article can be found under the members page or by emailing Sue at the above email address. 



NAHPS would like to inform your manager of the changes to the professional title, training, registration procedure and the launch of new occupational standards. We believe this will alert managers to the high standards of the profession and the value of recruiting qualified HPS.

Please can you assist us in this process by supplying us with the name and email address of the most relevant contact in your organisation.

The details should be sent to Angela White, NAHPS administrator at

If you are aware of HPS's who are not members please share this email with them so we can build an up to date contact list to raise awareness of developments in the profession.


Dear Colleagues, these 2 letters have been sent by your National Executive Committee to all users workplaces who sent contact details of their managers to Angela White.

Our advice is that you should download this letter for your own reference and also send it as a paper copy to your manager.

If you did not respond with your managers details please do so, you do not have to be a member of NAHPS to do this.

We want to reach as many people as possible so if you are aware of HPS's who may not be members or who do not log on to this website please share it with them.

Introductory Letter
Letter to Trusts


The new Occupational Standards for our profession are now available to download:

New Occupational Standards

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