We are all beguiled by individual stories, but the call for evidence and scalability is never far behind. Fortunately, if you are a chief executive of an NHS trust, you will shortly receive an important report on arts and health, with a letter from me and Lord Howarth of Newport, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.
I strongly recommend that colleagues study this report and think seriously about its implications ' you can download Creative health: The arts for health and wellbeing on the all-party group's website. It shows that the arts can offer significant support in the pursuit of NHS strategies.
The report is the outcome of a two-year inquiry by the group. Its three key messages are:
The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived.
The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health.
The arts can help save money in the health service and social care.