Hospitals should offer bingo and art sessions, says BMABMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d172 (Published 10 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d172
All rapid responses
As soon as I read about 'Nature and hospital gardens' in the new BMA
resource  I re-visited the Golden Jubilee garden at Addenbrooke's
hospital. This garden was not just a pretty 'view': it was designed by
patients and constructed with volunteers including their friends and
relatives. It is many small acts of purposive participation that make
green spaces fit into healing environments  for 'wellness'. If you
have a lot of small acts of participation, they make a Big Society.
Recently I learned a lot from chairing a session in
"A Creative Conversation", the International Scottish Mental Health Arts
and Film Research Symposium (Edinburgh, 18 October 2010). The BMA support
'recreational activities' and 'exercise' , but active participation by
patients in 'art' is much more than those. Creative, collaborative
realisation of the imagination is part of "Man's search for meaning". I
guess that within the patient population of any NHS Trust the whole
spectrum of creative potential present in the local community is also
The hard challenge for Medical Directors in Trusts is to facilitate
patients (and carers) in imaginative activity, across their diverse
clinical services. Nonetheless, such active participation in creating
their healing environment should help many patients give meaning to their
illness - and to their health.
 BMA. The psychological and social needs of patients. London:
British Medical Association.
 Burls A, Caan W. Human health and nature conservation. BMJ 2005;
 Burls A, Luscombe G, Millward A. Discover Yourself Outside.
Manchester: UNESCO man and biosphere Urban Forum, 2010.
Competing interests: Memberships: the National public mental health steering group & a local Education for Sustainable Development group.