In August 2022, we installed eleven artworks at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, part of Bedfordshire Hospitals to brighten the Notably Surgical block, Radiology, and Maternity wards. 

Bedfordshire Hospital’s Take heART campaign was formed in July 2021 by a group of like-minded staff members who are all passionate about increasing the availability of the Arts for patients, visitors, and staff at the hospital. Born from the arts and well-being committee set up by Consultant Radiologist, Dr. Sheena McLaggan and Clinical Psychologist, Rachel Chater, the campaign seeks to improve the mental and physical well-being of staff, patients, carers, and visitors by evoking calm and comfort with the artworks and encouraging interaction through workshops and activities. It also aims to foster links between their hospitals and the communities they serve through the arts.

“Investment in my surroundings makes me feel valued as a human being working in healthcare, not as a clinical robot.”

Staff member at Luton & Dunstable hospital

Staff at LDUH with Rooster and Railway Carriage by Mark Hearld.

The artworks were chosen by staff to evoke dialogue and reflection, whilst bringing calm and a colourful distraction from clinical, hospital life. Most of the selected artworks include nature scenes, chosen to reduce stress and restore energy, with vibrant pieces by Rachel Nicholson, Edward Beale, and Mark Hearld.

There is a growing body of evidence showing how powerful spending time in nature can be to help reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Now research is showing that even just looking at images of nature is enough to have similar effects. According to findings recovered in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, having photos of artworks that depict nature in a work setting is the best medicine for keeping stress levels low.

May Morning, Wensleydale by Piers Browne. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals collection on display at LDUH.

This is also seen in a study carried out by artist Mark Ware with support from Arts Council England. Working with Neuroscientists and Psychologists, Mark’s research has shown that natural sounds and sights can provoke positive psychological states with the potential to aid stress recovery and improve one’s well-being.

“I didn’t really notice the lack of it until the new artworks started appearing. It has made such a difference to the space and makes it feel less clinical, and also very calming. I’m sure the patients will also enjoy it and it may help take their mind off the medical aspects of their hospital visit."

Staff member at Luton & Dunstable hospital

Staff at LDUH with View from the Studio by Edward Beale.

Moving forward, Paintings in Hospitals is looking to create an interactive art trail map at the hospital and is hoping to run more workshops and install more artworks in the future at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital. So far, the artworks have been described by staff members as empowering, uplifting, and relaxing, brightening a clinical environment.

“We have really enjoyed partnering with Paintings in Hospitals to bring a wide range of uplifting artwork into our hospitals. It has been incredibly well received by both staff and patients and has helped to highlight the benefits of the Arts in a hospital setting."

Dr. Sheena McLaggan

Rooster and Railway Carriage by Mark Hearld. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals collection on display at LDUH.

Find out how you can benefit from working with Paintings in Hospitals...