YOUNG patients arriving at the children's ward at Burton's Queen's Hospital will be 'amazed' at a raft of new refurbishment work which has taken place.
The unit at the Belvedere Road site is currently being transformed and includes a newly installed desk.
The work was the culmination of a 'Listening into Action' initiative which involved all the paediatric staff at the hospital.
At their meetings they were asked for suggestions and concluded that the reception area in this important ward could be 'children-friendly' and more welcoming to all those who are admitted, as well as those who are just visiting.
Forbes West, the building and refurbishment contractors based in Burton, led by Simon Forbes, appointed Hardy Signs to assist in developing a concept and design that was based on an animal theme.
"We make a wide array of custom-built counters for many different purposes, be it reception desks, bar fronts and back-fittings, work stations and anything in between, but building a boat was a new and interesting challenge for our team of experienced joiners," said Mr Forbes.
Hardy Signs managing director Nik Hardy said: "Like all great ideas, this started on the back of an envelope.
"Our team took the initial ideas and created the graphics for the new reception desk, designed and constructed as a boat – or should that more accurately be described as an ark?"
The detail extends to a prow at the bow and stern of the ark-shaped desk that features cut work on a large format vinyl wrap over the entire surfaces, using a conformable vinyl material that carries 3D animal images.
Millie Gretton, from Bretby, who had been admitted to the ward recently, said she was delighted to see the animal characters and immediately started giving them names.
"The desk fulfils an important double role of providing extensive workstations along its entire 30ft length and simultaneously effectively hides from the children's view all the paperwork and computer screens," said senior sister Ellen Deane.
"The design and installation of the desk have transformed the reception and are entirely complementary, making the desk really look like part of the fabric."