Patients, staff and visitors at Newcastle Hospitals have praised a North East String Duo for the positive impact it has had through recent performances at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Freeman hospitals.
Andrelli, a group of professional string players from the North East of England, played at both sites marking the 75th anniversary of the NHS, which coincided with Music in Hospitals & Care turning 75.
Music in Hospitals & Care is a charity which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of adults and children through live music, working with Newcastle Hospitals Charity as part of the charity’s Arts Programme.
Patients, staff and visitors stopped to hear a variety of different tunes, with regular applause and appreciation shown by them towards the String Duo.
Subsequent feedback has been very positive, with calls for live music to become a regular feature within Newcastle’s hospital environment.
Feedback cards with comments were submitted by a variety of patients and visitors:
“Lovely. It is wonderful to hear this and it makes the hospital more human. More please.” – Family member of patient living with dementia
“Brilliant. Calming whilst waiting to visit husband in hospital.” – Visitor
“Incredibly uplifting on a very difficult day for me. Very good for my mental health. Really would like to hear these again!” – Patient
Staff were also complimentary:
“Lovely to see and gave a feeling of calm in a busy and stressful environment for patients and staff alike. They say music is good for mental health and soul. A must for the NHS/Trust.” – Medical Secretary
“Amazing! Happy! Was lovely to see all of our patients listen in. Hospitals are so scary and our patients are really anxious having long waits. This is ideal to make people feel at ease.” – Nurse Specialist
Katie Hickman, Arts Programme Manager at Newcastle Hospitals Charity, said: “Bringing live music into large public spaces within Trust Hospital sites meant approximately 400 people were able to experience the music from these talented musicians.
“The feedback has been hugely positive, and we look forward to bringing more live music into Trust sites, as we continue to gain support for and develop Newcastle Hospitals Charity’s new Arts Programme.”
Elsewhere within the Arts Programme, the charity is working with New Writing North to recruit a Writer in Residence to engage with staff across Newcastle Hospitals, helping them tell their stories. The residency is part of the NHS’ 75th anniversary celebrations.
Through the residency the writer will identify programmes engaging a range of staff, regardless what their level of writing confidence, literacy levels or experiences are. Some staff could write about life on the frontline, while others might want to develop a piece that isn’t connected to their workplace.
Some of the work will also contribute to “Our National Health Stories”, a national arts initiative across 19 NHS Trusts, artistically directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.
A new book will be published by New Writing North, featuring a selection of contributions from staff alongside work by the writer. It will be launched at a special event with readings from contributors to celebrate the 75th anniversary.