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Patients give a robodog a grrr-eat name

small robot dog in the colourful main entrance of the hospital
14 February 2022

Patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital certainly got their teeth into the task when they were asked to enter a competition to name the Robodogs that have taken up residence on their wards.

Bella, Dexter, Gary, Kevin, Polly and Rufus will now be scampering around the beds and corridors of Wards 1 to 6.

The pack of Robodogs were presented to the hospital by System C, one of the NHS Trust’s digital transformation partners.

A first Robodog, named Barney, proved to be really popular with young patients when paediatric consultant Dr Caroline Kerrison and her team took him on ward rounds. The Robodogs are a great conversation starter with young people who may be anxious or unsure about talking to staff at the hospital.

When let out of their kennels they respond to voice commands or can be operated by remote control. And they sing, dance, bark and guard, but thankfully don’t bite!

The young people chewed over their ideas for names for their canine companions and the following winners were announced:

patient joey next to statue of Theo, the Charity masot bear

Patient Joey, who named Robodog Kevin

Rufus – named by Isabella on Ward 1

Bella – Madison, Ward 2

Gary – Becky, Ward 3

Dexter – Tyler, Ward 4

Kevin – Joey, Ward 5

Polly – Bobbi, Ward 6


Each winner has received a digital tablet doodle board as a prize, also donated by System C.

Joey, of Aughton, who suggested the name Kevin in tribute to one of the hospital’s play team, said: “I picked Kevin because the real Kevin is always fun and makes things happier on the ward. The Robodogs are great and make the children feel like they have a pet.”

Ruth Brown, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Chief Executive, who judged the entries, said: “Our Robodogs have been a paw-some addition to the wards and are new friends for our hospital charity’s mascot, Theo the Bear. As well as keeping the children and their visitors amused with their antics our clinicians and other ward colleagues are finding that they have a great practical use as well. The children came up with an inventive range of names – some fluffy and friendly and some more suited to a protective guard dog.”

The Robodogs are part of the Trust’s wider digital journey to meet the agenda of the NHS Long-Term Plan – by transforming services to meet existing and unmet demands, using technology and data to target care where it is most needed and providing joined-up patient-centred services, and improving outcomes.

You can see some of the Robodogs in action on our YouTube channel:

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