Can healthcare arts projects survive in the current economic climate?


Conference to explore future of healthcare arts schemes

With increasing pressure on NHS spending, funding for anything that might be considered an ‘added extra’ will be pretty much non existent moving forward.

But, with a growing evidence base around the positive impact of the arts on health and wellbeing, is there an argument for continuing, or even increasing, NHS investment in these projects?

This dilemma will be the subject of a conference to be held in March next year, which will explore both the opportunities for investment in the arts, and the latest evidence on its impact on the patient experience and recovery process.

The Patient Environment And The Arts (PEATA) event will feature key names in the field, including Jane Willis, director of arts consultancy, Willis Newson; Sarah Waller, programme director of The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment project; and Damian Hebron, director of the London Arts and Health Forum.

Topics covered will include establishing the need for arts in health and procuring arts projects in the current financial environment. There will also be a an overview of the Singing Medicine, Art for Older People and Who Cares projects, which were all winners at this year’s Royal Society for Public Health’s Arts and Health Awards.

A spokesman for conference organiser, Binley’s, said: “For years, NHS trusts have been asking for evidence to demonstrate the impact an all-encompassing arts programme can have on the patient environment. Finally, this growing evidence base has been made available and trusts can now put together a business case that is based on solid evidence and present to those who hold the purse strings and ultimately make the decisions.

“This year’s PEATA conference looks at the new evidence that has become available and presents case studies where arts programmes have been shown to improve patient healthcare.”

The event, in Birmingham on 15 March, will also include a question and answer session and panel discussion.

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