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Culture Minister Ed Vaizey hosts launch of charity appeal

14 July 2014

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey hosts launch of charity appeal to transform the experience of A&E for 140,000 patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey will this evening (Monday 14 July 2014) host the launch of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity’s A&E&U appeal at the House of Commons. Guests this evening will hear from musician and artist, Brian Eno, and Elizabeth McManus, Chief Nurse & Director of Quality at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity needs to raise £600,000 to help create a state of the art A&E department for 140,000 patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Every day 100 children and 200 adults visit the hospital’s A&E.  Being admitted to hospital is one of the most traumatic times for patients and their loved ones. Bringing together leading artists including Brian Eno, Mischa Kuball, Steffi Mueller, Matt Pyke and Richard Woods, the charity will use its design expertise to create an environment which calms and supports patients in a positive way.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey says:

“This is a wonderful cause that highlights what we already know, that arts and culture have a huge impact on both our physical and mental health. This project will fundamentally improve the experience of A&E for thousands of patients, using the talent of our leading artists to provide a calm and positive environment. I hope this collaborative work to improve health and wellbeing through the arts can continue in other areas too.”

18 month old Arlo was admitted to the hospital’s A&E following an accident which saw his face, hands and chest covered in scalding hot water. He was too distressed to receive treatment. He was then looked after in the hospital’s Paediatric Burns Unit. While there, Arlo’s mum, Gemma was offered a choice: give Arlo morphine so he could be treated, which meant an overnight stay, or try a form of distraction therapy. Gemma chose the latter. She says:

“It was phenomenal. The lights were down low and there were projections of art and colours on the wall. Arlo, who had been screaming in pain and was uncontrollable when we first entered A&E immediately calmed down. Within three quarters of an hour, his wounds had been treated and dressed and he was discharged. To be able to offer this service in A&E will be incredible.”

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital was recently ranked as having the top performing A&E in the country for the four hour waiting time target for the second year in a row. However, the A&E space was originally designed to see 60,000 patients per year and now sees 112,000 patients. The hospital plans to invest in a £10 million redevelopment which will double the A&E footprint and enable it to treat over 140,000 emergency patients every year. With the additional enhancements from Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity’s £600,000 A&E&U appeal, together the hospital and the charity will create an environment and a service which minimises stress, improves clinical outcomes and sets new standards for the delivery of emergency care.

Patron of the appeal, Hugh Grant, says:

“I live in the shadow of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and am very proud to be a patron of the A&E&U appeal by Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity. In support of the planned A&E redevelopment, the charity is working with artists and designers to do clever and cunning things with lighting, with sound and with the design. This will make A&E a much less scary, hostile and forbidding atmosphere for people who are traumatised or injured, for children, for their families or friends. They need to raise £600,000 to do this and I urge people to give as generously can. It is a fantastic cause. It is a fantastic A&E department.”

To donate to Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity’s A&E appeal, visit   or text CWAE70 and the amount you want to donate to 70070 (for example, CWAE70 £10 to 70070).