Aim An historical account of the role of paediatricians in the development of play in health services in the UK, prior to and since the founding of the National Association of Health Play Specialists in 1975.
Methods Scrutny of records journals and interviewing.
Results The recognition of the importance of play in childrens lives was slow in society generally and particularly in medicine. However certain childrens doctors played a part and the roles of Montessori, Lowenfeld, Winnicott, MacCarthy, Morris, Jolly and David Harvey were significant. They assisted the main thrust for changes in care which came from pioneers such as James Robertson, from parents and voluntary organisations and particularly by Susan Harvey.
This is the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the N. A. H. P. S. Since then training has become established under the Hospital Play Staff Education Trust. The original role of using play skills to enable comunication, advocacy and continuity of care has been integrated into normal practice. Paediatricians working in other parts of hospital and community services have improved care by involving Play Specialists. Specialty areas such as burns units, feeding programmes, diabetes and growth clinics, constipation teams, bereavement care, and many other examples now use play specialists to improve the care of children and the effectiveness of other staff. These major changes will be illustrated.
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