Clown Docs celebrate 20 years of clowning around for sick kids

21 August 2019 

The Queensland Children’s Hospital is this week celebrating 20 years of the Clown Doctors turning frowns upside down for sick and injured Queensland children.

Through their regular ward rounds, the Clown Doctors parody the hospital routine, offering a much-appreciated respite from daily hospital life for children, families and staff.

The professionally trained performers help calm distressed children in the emergency department, provide a distraction for children who must undergo a painful or uncomfortable procedure, or simply turn a frown upside down.

Funded by not-for-profit organisation, The Humour Foundation, Clown Doctors – Dr Kerfuffle, Dr O’Dear, Dr Wobble, Dr 2 Shoes, Dr Bubbly and Dr Nincompoop – conduct their rounds at the Queensland Children’s Hospital four days a week.

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Frank Tracey said the Clown Doctors are a very special part of the care provided at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

“Engaging with a Clown Doctor can be welcome distraction and gives children and their families a chance to laugh and forget about their troubles for a while.

“On behalf of Children’s Health Queensland and the children and families we serve, I would like to thank The Humour Foundation and the Clown Doctors for being a part of our healthcare team and we wish them a very happy 20th birthday,” he said.

The Humour Foundation’s Chief Executive Tony Warner said the Clown Doctors have enjoyed being a part of the program at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, which has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of children since its launch at the former Royal Children’s Hospital in 1999.

“Through music, magic, mime and puppetry Clown Doctors inject hope, happiness and humour into the lives of sick children. In doing so, they play an important role in improving children’s health.”

He said international research shows that laughter has both physiological and psychological benefits in recovery.

‘Laughter has a positive effect on the heart rate and blood pressure, improves the immune and respiratory system, and relaxes muscles. It also reduces stress and helps patients to maintain a positive outlook,” Mr Warner said.

For more information about The Humour Foundation and the Clown Doctors, see

Fast Facts

  • The Clown Doctors program started at the RCH in 1999 and moved to the Queensland Children’s Hospital when it opened in late 2014
  • Last year alone they treated more than 200,000 children in 24 hospitals Australia-wide
  • Clown Doctor rounds are conducted in most wards, including intensive care and the emergency department.
  • Clown Doctors are professional performers and medical clowns, trained to work in the hospital environment.


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