Toys and Te Reo make doctor's visits a breeze

  • 27/05/2018
 Teddy Bear Hospital
The Teddy Bear Hospital is one of many set up around the world. Photo credit: Getty

A plush toy hospital is breaking new ground by introducing te reo Māori consultations.

The Teddy Bear Hospital in Dunedin has been set up to help children feel comfortable in medical clinics.

Medical student Courtney Sullivan says having Māori consultations, even for toys, sets the right tone.

"Māori are definitely overrepresented in lots of health statistics around New Zealand. I think if doctors are able to relate to Māori on a personal level, it will definitely help in terms of their health outcomes."

Saturday's open day hoped to attract Māori children - and their toys - and it worked. Ms Sullivan says the children's visit was reflective of real-life Māori patients.

"Quite a large group came in, just like what would actually happen in real life - especially with Māori and bringing in their support people and whanau. It was a good indicator of what might happen."

Ms Sullivan says speaking Te Reo to Māori patients is an easy way to make them feel comfortable.

"Te reo Māori was the priority language in that setting [but] they were able to converse in a language they were more familiar with as well."

The Teddy Bear Hospital is one of many set up around the world by the International Federation of Medical Students Associations.