Medical Notes @ RMCH


We’re well into the second year of our ambitious 2-year programme of work at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH), for which we were awarded £127,000 from Youth Music and which has the support of the Charities Board at Central Manchester University Hospitals.

The programme is made up of two projects – one of which is a development of our previous youth music funded project, Medical Notes. Funded through the Open Module, Medical Notes is the first training programme in the UK to explore the complete skills transition from apprentice to expert musician in healthcare settings. It also supports healthcare staff in their development of musical skills.

We’re exploring a range of different outcomes in this project, with research input from Salford University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. You can access their evaluation of the first Medical Notes programme here;

Medical Notes FINAL REPORT (Salford Image)

The new project has already increased the provision of high quality, inclusive music making on the wards at RMCH through an expansion of the core Music for Health team.  Ros Hawley (clarinet), Mark Fisher (guitar) and Holly Marland (Kora/voice) have been able to continue working with Ruth Spargo (cello), Cecily Smith (cello) and Tom Sherman (saxophone) who were trainees on the first Medical Notes project.

In year one of the project, Ruth, Cecily and Tom have been mentoring three new apprentices – Ruth Davidson (violin), Emma Richards (viola) and Kathryn West (voice), with support from Ros, Mark and Holly.

In year two, we were joined by two new apprentices Thomas Evans (clarinet) and Lucie Phillips (voice) who will work alongside the team, receiving mentoring from last year’s apprentices with the support and guidance of more experienced members of the team.

“Well done to all the team who have provided excellent leadership and charisma to create a wonderful, therapeutic, healing art that enhances the quality of patient-staff experience and the environment for children, young people parents, carers and multi professionals.

 ..this resource provides a well evaluated opportunity and raises non verbal and verbal communication… and has been conveyed by child, parental and professional comments and shown on Channel 5’s ‘The Kids’ Hospital at Christmas’ series 2014 .

..An art required to be available on prescription in the current NHS and paediatric acute health care setting which can be implemented from young to old throughout the patient journey experience with many clinically effective outcomes.” (Frances Binns, Professional lead for Therapeutic & Specialised Play Services)

Members of the team were invited to present a seminar and lead a workshop at the Play Department’s ‘Creative Care Conference’ in September 14 which opened up dialogue with healthcare staff across the Trust as well as representatives from other UK and International hospitals and the UK lead for NHS patient experience Kath Evans, who was particularly taken with the work of the musicians at RMCH;

“Hospitals and illness are anxiety provoking, music can soothe and calm reducing stress and releasing feel good hormones. The value of music in health cannot be understated, not only for patients and families but also for staff in creating great patient experience.” (Kath Evans, Head of Patient Experience NHS England)

As this year progresses, we will be focusing on sharing our progress with you on the Blog through reports, videos, photos and feedback. We’ve been working with film artist Hafsah Naib to create some exciting film resources to showcase the work.  We’ll also be holding festival events at the hospitals featuring performances by young local musicians alongside showcasing music made by children and young people in the hospitals in April and July 15.  Please do sign up to the Blog to be kept up to date with the latest news!

Here are some highlights so far:

“My daughter had only just arrived from theatre quite upset, when the musicians arrived. They came and played for her and it really calmed her down. As well as cheering her up, my mother in law and I enjoyed listening too.” Mother of a young girl on Ward 76 

“I igodid [enjoyed] it verry much from Clara” Girl aged 6 on Ward 76

“J really enjoys music, if he’s feeling poorly or a bit unsure it always cheers him up and he is soon smiling and laughing and singing along. Hope to see you again, thank you.” Father of young boy with special needs in High Dependency Unit

Enjoy our festive greetings, recorded in the Play Centre for Help Musicians UK in December 14 by clicking here

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