MEMBERS of the public were given behind the scenes access at Dorset County Hospital as it welcomed the community for an open day.

The Dorchester hospital threw open its doors with a range of activities and tours on offer to visitors who turned out for the occasion.

The tours included access to areas not normally open to the public and there was a chance for people to have their say on the future of healthcare services as it looks to bring together hospital and community services under a single ‘healthcare hub’ to improve access to patients.

There were plenty of hands-on activities on offer at the hospital’s Damers Restaurant, including a Teddy Health Check Clinic where children could bring along their cuddly toys or dolls to get checked over by the hospital’s friendly nurses.

Daisy Buckland-Cope, aged nine, brought along her rabbit Harriet to get looked at by hospital staff.

Dad Mark Cope said Daisy’s mum worked in the hospital library and he thought it was good for youngsters to come and experience the hospital in a less formal setting.

He said: “I think it makes the hospital less scary and it’s good to see it in a less stressful environment.”

A range of hospital supporters and organisations also had stands at the restaurant, including the League of Friends of Dorset County Hospital, hospital governors, Healthwatch, Ridgeway Radio and Arts in Hospital.

Departments open for tours included the Clinical Simulation Suite, radiology, day surgery, special care dentistry, sterile services, the kitchens and the equipment library.

Director of nursing Alison Tong said the day was a great opportunity for people to come and find out more about what goes on at the hospital.

She said: “A lot of it is about opening the doors to places you wouldn’t normally get to go to such as the mortuary and simulation suite where we train doctors and nurses so you can see behind the scenes of how the hospital runs.

“What we are doing with the children is also trying to allay some of the fears they might have before they come into the hospital.”

Mrs Tong added: “It’s a really nice opportunity for everyone to come together and see what it is we do.”