PROUD staff showed people what they do and the advances they are making at an open day to mark Salisbury District Hospital’s 21st anniversary on Saturday.

About 160 people went on tours of some of the departments including the pharmacy, where they met robotic pharmacy dispensers “Fred” and Ginger”, which dispatch drugs to the counter, and the endoscopy unit.

A room full of information on all sorts of aspects of hospital life was buzzing with conversation as staff from different departments told people about their work.

Carol Read, head of innovations, explained that some of the pioneering work undertaken and bright ideas from staff were really making a difference to patient care.

The My Trusty Little Sunflower Cream, created at the hospital nearly a year ago, generated a £100,000 turnover in its first eight months, with all profits being ploughed back into patient care.

The cream has been featured in national newspapers and on primetime TV since being launched, and is now sold in many other major hospitals and at GP surgeries.

The trust is also pioneering 3D printing to speed patients’ recovery, using X-rays to build a picture of what’s inside the body and print it out so the surgeon has chance to practise how they will go about the operation.

Mrs Read said: “Because they’ve seen the model they can operate more quickly, shortening the time the patient is under anaesthetic and making the process less invasive, which reduces recovery time. It’s a win-win situation.

“We are the only hospital using 3D printers in this way, and the idea is being sold to other hospitals, again generating money for patient care.

“In these times of austerity these projects, among many we are carrying out, are very important.”

A stand was also manned by the Stars Appeal, with photos of the new facilities it has funded over the past few years including for children and premature babies.

Gemma Heath from the appeal said: “The feedback we’ve had from parents has been amazing.

“They tell us the rooms make the world of difference.”

Chief executive Peter Hill said: “I think one of the best things about having an open day is the sheer enthusiasm of the staff in wanting to show the public what they do.

“We had lots of volunteers, and their passion for what they do is really shining through. It is very heartening.”