Staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) have created an app called ‘Poo goes home to Pooland’ featuring an animated poo character. The character is based on a leaflet used by health visitors, nursery nurses and parents to explain constipation and other toilet related conditions to children.

The app's developers, Martin Dempster and Dean Tiffin, both Senior Systems Developers at NTW, decided to make the app after noticing that the ‘Pooland’ leaflet was one of the most downloaded documents from the Trust’s Patient Information Centre website.

Martin explained: "The characters were drawn from scratch using photoshop and then animated. We did the app in our spare time between projects. The project became a bit of a family affair as my son voiced the character of Ollie. Now he’s always asking to see Ollie.”

The Pooland story is about a troublesome ‘Poo’ character and covers topics such as sharing unhappy feelings about how to recognise when you need a poo. Martin and Dean decided to bring the work, originally developed by the author Tamsin Black as a colouring book for children with encopresis, into the modern world by bringing Poo to life.

Dean said: "Our aim was to update the story and we’ve made the character interactive and more fun. I’ve really enjoyed working on the app, it’s been a great project to work on and we’ve developed some new skills.”

Poo is now a walking talking character which means children can interact with the story. This will help to relieve the anxiety children feel around toileting and is recommended to suit children up to around seven years of age.

Director of Informatics at NTW Darren McKenna added: "This is an excellent example of creativity and innovation from our talented staff. As far as I’m aware, an NHS app aimed at children is the first of its kind. This is going to make a real difference to children who suffer from constipation and Encopresis and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to respond so positively to the demand for this type of information.”

The app is free to download from the Trust’s website.