Prestigious healthcare award win sees Tonic Arts recognised for pioneering art and design commission at East Lothian Community Hospital.

NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts Programme received an award win at the 2023 Building Better Healthcare Awards, held at The Brewery in London, for their holistic and pioneering art and environment strategy at the new East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington.

The ceremony was recently held in November in central London, with 33 trophies handed out across five categories reflecting outstanding achievements and innovation within the healthcare sector. This year’s awards continued to honour the innovation, architecture, people, products and services that are helping to transform patient care in both the NHS and private sector. 

Image of the glade installation art display which features in East Lothian Community Hospital

Glade by Neon at East Lothian Community Hospital. Image credit, Arabella Harvey

NHS Lothian Charity: Tonic Arts won the award for best collaborative static arts project which recognises arts projects that have a measurable positive impact on the patient and staff experience within a health or care environment. The commission at East Lothian Community Hospital, which was delivered for the Charity by Round Table Projects, sees art and craft built into the hospital environment, forming a holistic approach to patient care and staff wellbeing.

Regional artists and designers created bespoke works for both the hospital interior and exterior, including sculptural works by Kenny Hunter, NEON studio, Alex Allen and Juliana Capes, photography by Sylwia Kowalczyk and Simon Crofts, Alicia Bruce, Natalie Feather and Katie Fowlie, designs and interiors by Lindsay Perth, Cobalt Collective, Bespoke Atelier and Zuzana Kerdova, complementing a range of NHS Lothian Charity: Tonic Art collection pictures adorning the walls. Commissions were developed in collaboration with local community groups and NHS Lothian staff, and Craft Scotland also partnered with the Charity to deliver a Maker in Residence, running workshops with selected patient groups.

Susan Grant, Tonic Arts Manager, said:

“We are thrilled to have won an award at the 2023 Building Better Healthcare Awards for our arts enhancements at East Lothian Community Hospital. Awards like these help to shine a light on the importance of well-crafted art, craft and creativity in our healthcare environments; improving a person’s sense of value, engagement with treatment, speed of recovery and their overall healthcare experience. Art and design really are at the heart of our wellbeing and therefore have a key role to play in our healthcare settings.”

Close collaboration with clinical teams and patient representatives has resulted in a warm, welcoming, therapeutic environment that has been integrated directly into patient care. One of the commissioned artists, sculptor Kenny Hunter, said of the project:

“It feels pioneering that we’re building hospitals like this now that are completely holistic, taking in art and medical care and treating patients like whole people.”

Feedback from patients and staff has also been positive. Anne Bisset, Patient, Carer and patient representative on the commissioning team, said:

“When you’re in hospital as a patient, your world becomes extremely small, you’re confirmed to a quite a small space and your day’s very routine and monotonous. To be able to go and look at a piece of artwork – is a respite from everything else.”

Miriam Anderson, NHS Lothian Senior Capital Project Manager sums up the project by saying:

“It just makes you smile. It’s a happy place. It’s a comfortable place. People like this space because there’s interesting things to see and do when they’re in the hospital and the artwork has created that.”

To find out more about the art and environment strategy at East Lothian Community Hospital, visit: Tonic Arts | Commissions | East Lothian Community Hospital


PHOTO – Glade by Neon at East Lothian Community Hospital. Image credit, Arabella Harvey

Published: Monday, 20th November 2023