Intended for healthcare professionals


Spending (slightly) less on health and more on the arts

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:660

Robust research is needed

  1. Christine M Hamilton, director (,
  2. Mark Petticrew, associate director
  1. Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ
  2. MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow
  3. Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  4. Institute for Genetics and Biorisks in Society, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD

    EDITOR—Smith raises some important issues about the role of arts in our society and on the relative value we attach to arts and health, as reflected in their budgets.1 Perhaps a move to divert some modest funding from the health budget into the arts might prove more popular if some positive health benefit can be shown. But, despite the experiences of Simon Rattle (and any artist who has engaged with poverty and exclusion), the health benefits of the arts are not immediately obvious.

    Although we might agree with Brown on that the arts have positive effects in a hospital environment, there is a lack of robust evidence of the arts providing such benefits in other areas. 2 3

    The potential health benefits of participating in the arts to individual people and to the community have received widespread attention in recent …

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