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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 9 October 2023

Banging the drum for music as therapy

Some of the youngest patients at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust can now make their hospital visit less worrying and more entertaining by trying out a new selection of musical instruments.

Young patient listens to our music therapist playing the ukulele

The Children's Ward now has two ukuleles, a large drum, bells and other percussion instruments, all thanks to funding from the charity Friends of the RUH, to support the work of Musician in Residence, Frankie Simpkins.

Thanks to ongoing support from the Friends of the RUH, Frankie is able to spend one morning a week on the Children's Ward making music and having musical interactions with the patients.

Frankie chooses the selection of instruments with the patients in mind. She adapts and tailors her musical interactions to suit the patient's age, from song writing and singing lessons, to lullabies, Disney classics and even ukulele lessons.

Hospitals across the country will this week celebrate national Play in Hospital Week (9 – 15 October), a national campaign which aims to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of poorly children.

RUH Play Specialist Jo Powell said: "At the RUH we've found that play creates an environment which reduces stress and anxiety and helps our young patients cope with their illness and recover more quickly.

"We're so grateful to the Friends of the RUH for the new musical instruments to support Frankie's work, which have really helped to brighten up the Children's Ward and put smiles on the faces of so many of our patients."

Ronny Helvey, Friends of the RUH Trustee, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this initiative. It's so rewarding to see how the work our volunteers do, raising money through running the Friends' on-site Café @B18 and the RUH shop in the Atrium, can make such a difference to young patients and their families."

Art at the Heart of the RUH, which provides the hospital with art and design programmes for patients, also offers artist-led workshops - Artsparks, on the Children's Ward, along with video workshops and creative materials for when the artists can't be there, activities most recently funded by Arts Council England and RUHX, the RUH's charity.


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