Mark Thomas opens anniversary garden at Charing Cross Hospital

22 October 2018

Mark Thomas opens anniversary garden at Charing Cross Hospital
Comedian Mark Thomas joined nurses at Charing Cross Hospital to celebrate the official opening of a new garden marking the hospital's 200th anniversary.

The garden has been specially designed for patients with dementia as well as those recovering from a stroke or neurological condition.

It will provide a much-needed outdoor space for both patients and staff, offering a place for relaxation and recovery.

Mark Thomas, whose latest stand-up show 'Check up: our NHS at 70' reflects on 70 years of the NHS, visited the hospital last year and spent several days with the Trust's dementia team.

Speaking as Patron of the garden, Mark said: "I was amazed by the close personal care and attentiveness shown by the dementia nurses in what are clearly very challenging circumstances. It was truly moving to see their dedication and commitment to provide the best possible care for their patients.

"The garden is going to make such a big difference to these patients, allowing them to spend time outside the normal hospital environment. The team here at Charing Cross go above and beyond what is expected of them and they are a credit to the NHS."

IMG_4373.JPGDuring a long stay in hospital, having access to a peaceful outdoor space has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve appetite, help patients sleep better and foster a broader sense of wellbeing.

As well as providing a safe space for quiet reflection, the garden will also be used as an area for mealtime breaks, one-to-one sessions and regular outdoor activities tailored to aid the recovery process.

The design features private quiet spaces, raised beds to enable patients to interact with plants, and garden paths with smooth surfaces suitable for patients who have difficulties with mobility.

Jo James, Lead Nurse for Dementia at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "The garden will benefit so many of our patients. Until now we had nowhere safe and secure for patients to go outside, to feel calm or enjoy sitting in the sun. It is very hard for staff to take patients out into a public place, particularly if the patient has distressed behaviour.

"Using hospital gardens has been shown to improve patients' mental health and wellbeing, so to have our very own garden at Charing Cross will transform the hospital experience for our patients."

The project was led by Imperial Health Charity, with kind support from garden designers Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer. Other partners included London Gardens, Cedar Nursery and the charity Thrive.

The garden would also not have been possible without a generous gift of £30,000 from donors Michael and Jackie Hayes.

Imperial Health Charity is raising money to enhance and improve the Charing Cross Anniversary Garden for many years to come. To find out more about the project or to make a donation, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/gardenappeal