Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Art belongs to patients, not just the galleries

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I have been amused that the various unions and other bodies can make an issue of funding 'hospital art' to defend an issue that in truth is caused by 'ineffective' management of time, resources and personnel within the National Health Service.

As a long-term patient, an artist and arts educationalist having undergone several neurosurgeries and intensive radiotherapies, I would defend the absolute right of patients, employees, visitors and even Board members in public hospitals to be afforded and allowed to experience a pleasing and aesthetically professionally managed environment as is already existing within the private sector.

It is a fact that optical rhythm and colours carry energy and can enhance or distress mood.

It is with delight that I see that 'one per cent for art' is a requirement when costing buildings and that art in hospital schemes has been given consideration in caring both for patient and staff.

Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital could do well to revamp the lift interiors with correct signage to save patients stress and confusion.

This is not art but it is visual and obviously has not been seen as a hindrance to the functioning of a large hospital.

When confronted with illness or disability the patient does not need avoidable confusion or an unpleasant environment.

Art is not the domain of galleries, it belongs to the people.

So for NIPSA to call on the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to scrap this funding is just another diversion that would allow NHS management 'off the hook'.

Mo McDevitt, Belfast

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