HUNDREDS of people attended an open day staged to showcase and "demystify" Airedale Hospital's endoscopy and theatre departments.

Between 300 and 400 people of all ages visited these departments last Saturday between 11am and 4pm (Oct 18)

A spokesman for Airedale said: "Last year our staff thought they'd had about 300 visitors, but they think they had a few more this time as it was busy all the time, there was no lull.

"It was very family oriented with a good mixture of adults and children.

"There were quite a lot of different things for the children to do. In the operating theatres they could dress up in scrubs and we had brought people in to apply wound make-up to make it look as if they had cuts and bruises.

"There was a treasure hunt for the children in the endoscopy unit. The children could follow a series of pictures spelling out the word 'endoscopy' and received a goody bag prize at the end."

She said many of the adults who visited attended the event because they have children, friends or relatives due to undergo procedures in these departments.

She added: "There was a lot of interest in our orthopaedic scans, probably because of the numbers of people who are having hip and knee replacement operations.

"People also wanted to know how we keep everything clean, and our sterile services department was part of the display for the first time this year.

"There was a health education element involved, where we showed people how to spot symptoms early on. For example someone who as a cough for more than three weeks should get it checked out.

"It was a good opportunity to show the public what it is like behind the scenes and put their minds at ease in a relaxed environment. It's better for people to find things out this way, than when they are admitted to hospital requiring treatment and feeling nervous."

She thanked Airedale staff members who had made sure the event ran smoothly.

"It can be tricky holding the open day," she said. "One of the reasons we do it at the weekend is because there are fewer routine operations, but we're still having to carry out emergency procedures.

"It does mean staff are giving up their time because people are required to cover the shifts to keep the hospital running."