Fran Giffard's art brightens up new children's unit

30 August 2017

Fran Giffard's art brightens up new children's unit
Artwork by Fran Giffard has been installed in a new children’s unit in the St Mary’s A&E department, which opened this week.

Giffard’s colourful prints and light boxes, now adorn the children’s Clinical Decision Unit at the hospital. The four-bed unit provides dedicated facilities for children who need further assessment and was created as part of a charity-funded £3.5m upgrade for the A&E department.

 The artwork, featuring vivid drawings of birds from around the world drawn over her personal diary pages, helps transform the feel of the department and offers children something to focus on in what can be a very distressing time.

 “I’ve tried to cater for the patients in the room”, said Giffard. “There are colourful, friendly birds, birds that they’ll recognise like parrots and penguins and the diary pages reference London landmarks.”

 “The nurses said it was useful to have these as a visual distraction so if they’re giving injections or taking blood they can ask ‘how many penguins can you see?’ and that way the patient is entertained in the middle of a stressful situation.”

 The charity is a keen advocate of art in hospitals and manages a collection of over 2,000 art works at the five Trust hospitals. A 2014 survey carried out by the charity revealed that 69% of patients credited the art collection with making them feel more relaxed in the hospital environment, something that the arts programme is constantly building on. 

 Giffard said: “We’re getting very good at fixing the physical parts of the body but we’re still only tapping the briefest part of the mind and how things can have an impact later on. Having artwork in places like this makes it more relaxing, less clinical, and less intimidating.”

 Giffard studied Fine Art Drawing at Camberwell College of Art and has had her work exhibited internationally and throughout the UK. She was shortlisted for the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year and has displayed her work at several solo exhibitions, including the Northcote Gallery in Chelsea and the Someth1ng Gallery in Honor Oak.

 You can find out more about her work on her website.