A change of scenery on every floor

14 April 2011

“I used to bring patients outside for a change of scenery – now they’ve got a change of scenery on every floor” – this is how Tom Johnson, a former hospital porter at Bristol’s Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC), described the artwork that has helped to transform the building in a recent refurbishment. Since it opened in 1971 and now cares for some some 6,500 individual patients each year, some areas of the hospital were in need of refreshing. The regeneration project, much of which was funded by local charity Above & Beyond,  included an arts programme developed by Willis Newson and inspired by the theme of local and well-loved places.  

Artist Robin Blackledge’s work now creates a welcoming environment for visitors in the reception area and enhances wayfinding throughout. Glass artist Stuart Low's panels bring light and colour into otherwise dark stairwells. Carole Innocent, from Innocent Fine Art in Bristol consulted with patients and staff to identify popular locations around Bristol and commissioned local artists to paint them; the resulting works can be found throughout the building, in clinics, consulting rooms, waiting areas and lift lobbies.

The BHOC arts programme was entirely funded through the CaRE (Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy Environment) Appeal by Above & Beyond which set out to create a modern, welcoming and caring environment for patients, visitors and staff.  Over 1,000 former BHOC patients, local companies such as Simplyhealth, National Friendly and Central Appointments and community fundraisers, including many hospital staff and local cancer self help and support groups - all contributed generously to the appeal.  Donors and trusts, including the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund who donated £300,000 to the appeal, also helped the charity’s staff and volunteer team to meet the ambitious £1.6m target to help transform surroundings at the hospital.

More than 300 people viewed the changes at a Public Open Day held on the 5th March 2011. The project also featured on the BBC local news and you can view the short item here.