Sick Kids hospital launches £5m therapeutic art project

Janice MacKenzie and Tom Littlewood are excited about the theraputic art plans at the hospital. Picture: Toby Williams
Janice MacKenzie and Tom Littlewood are excited about the theraputic art plans at the hospital. Picture: Toby Williams
Share this article
1
Have your say

INTERACTIVE technology, 3D lighting and futuristic pod spaces are among the exciting ideas to be turned into reality at the new Sick Kids hospital thanks to a £5 million cash boost for therapeutic art.

With less than two years until the £150m development opens its doors, health chiefs have revealed plans to transform the hospital into a vibrant and welcoming place for the Capital’s sickest children.

Designs by Alison Unsworth at a similar project in Glasgow. Picture: Ginko Projects

Designs by Alison Unsworth at a similar project in Glasgow. Picture: Ginko Projects

The state-of-the-art facility will also house the Department of Clinical Neuroscience (DCN) and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at the purpose-built home in Little France.

Design consultant Gingko Projects is at work on the project, which is understood to be the largest capital 
commissioning programme for hospital art in the UK.

Director Tom Littlewood, who worked on similar projects at the city’s St Columba’s Hospice and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, said: “There’s quite a lot of research which says that art and therapeutic design can help promote stress reduction and patient recovery.

“It can also help to create a community within a hospital by bringing staff and patients together.”

There’s quite a lot of research which says that art and therapeutic design can help promote stress reduction and patient recovery.

Tom Littlewood

Young patients will be encouraged to let their imaginations run wild by following illustrated dragons and racing cars to find their treatment rooms, while there are plans for 3D lighting in the atrium and multisensory installations throughout the hospital.

These will include moving and static images on the walls to provide distraction and entertainment to children.

There will be five artists in residence over a year who will look at how the building relates to the wider community and try to create links with residents, schools and museums.

The outpatient waiting area will have pod spaces with play facilities and integrated digital technology to make them interactive.

Design by Ian Richards at a similar project in Glasgow. Picture: Ginko Projects

Design by Ian Richards at a similar project in Glasgow. Picture: Ginko Projects

Interview rooms where doctors sometimes have to deliver bad news will be filled with soothing artwork and furniture to make the environment as supportive as possible.

Designers have worked with mental health patients to come up with a magical theme which will be reflected throughout the CAMHS area.

They will also work to re-imagine the motif of a lighthouse, which sits outside the CAMHS ward at its current location at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Morningside.

Janice Mackenzie, clinical director for the new Sick Kids hospital, said: “These projects are all about enhancing patient experience and they will also make a big difference to staff by bringing them into the process.

Design by Alison Unsworth at a similar project in Glasgow. Picture: Ginko Projects

Design by Alison Unsworth at a similar project in Glasgow. Picture: Ginko Projects

“Staff have been consulted at all stages and along with patients have told us the areas they wanted us to focus on.

“It’s really exciting and we hope the work going on will build on the strong relationships between the Sick Kids Friends Foundation and CAMHS and the DCN when it all comes together.”

The project is being funded by £2.9m from the Sick Kids Friends Foundation and another £2m from the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.

The team will also relocate existing artefacts from the current Sick Kids hospital in Sciennes.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com