Hansard 6 Mar 2008: Column GC208 – Arts and Healthcare
The noble Lord said: There is much to celebrate in the contribution of the arts to healthcare across the country. Bibliotherapy groups on Merseyside are enabling literature to alleviate pain and mental distress for people with Alzheimerís, motor neurone disease and mental health problems. Poems in the Waiting Room is the most widely read poetry publication in the United Kingdom. Live Music Now presents concerts and runs workshops to support people in mental health units, care homes and hospices. The Peninsula Medical School has appointed the distinguished violinist, Paul Robertson, as visiting professor of music and medicine. The Royal Northern College of Music and Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University are promoting collaboration between centres of excellence in musical education and medical education. Paintings in Hospitals, led by Stuart Davie, not only lends from its own collection but runs artists-in-residence programmes and has brokered loan exhibitions to hospitals with the V&A.
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS trustís Leading the Way programme; Stockportís Arts on Prescription and Bradfordís Dance for Life have been exemplary. In London, Guyís and St Thomasís, under the cultural leadership of Karen Sarkissian, with its beautiful Evelina Childrenís Hospital designed by Hopkins Architects; Homerton Hospital, with its arts programme led by Shaun Caton; Bartís, where the Gibbs grade 1 listed west wing has been reinvented by Greenhill Jenner Architects and enhanced with art commissioned by Vital Arts; and Chelsea and Westminster, where the brilliant tradition established by Susan Loppert continues, are all enlisting the arts creatively and effectively in support of healthcare. Over 100 arts managers are running hospital arts groups across Britain. I look forward to hearing in the debate about Bromley-by-Bow and the Kingís Fundís Enhancing the Healing Environment programme. The document jointly produced by the Department of Health and Arts Council England in 2007, A Prospectus for Arts and Health, describes a wealth of activity.
What are the benefits of linking the arts with healthcare? It is important to make clear that practitioners are not making exaggerated claims. No one is suggesting that you should send for an artist instead of a doctor, or that a poem can substitute for a drug. What is claimed is that the arts can supplement and enhance the efficacy of conventional medical treatments. Dr Rosalia Staricoffís research at the Chelsea and Westminster between 1999 and 2002 demonstrated that the integration of the visual and performing arts in healthcare induces significant differences in clinical outcomes, reduces drug consumption, shortens stays in hospital, improves patient management, increases job satisfaction and staff retention, and enhances service. In a later review of the medical literature on the arts and health, Staricoff found significant evidence of reduced anxiety and depression during chemotherapy, improved blood pressure and heart rate in cardiovascular patients, improved clinical and behavioural states in intensive care, diminished stress before surgery and less need for pain-reducing medication after it.