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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Artist brings Children's Ward to life

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Bellhouse Drayson Ward in Oxford Children's Hospital has been transformed with wall murals of brightly coloured animals and birds. 

Artist Stephen Smith, also known as Neasden Control Centre ( worked closely with nursing staff and play specialists on the ward to create a positive and welcoming environment for young patients and their families in the hospital. 

The project was funded by Oxford Hospitals Charity's Fund for Children and is part of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's 'artlink' art programme which uses the arts to engage patients, visitors and staff, and to transform the hospital experience.

Bellhouse Drayson is a busy medical inpatient ward where patients up to the age of 16 with acute respiratory, cardiac and gastroenterology conditions are treated.

Ward play specialists Sam Mortlock and Grace Midwinter put in the bid for funds, and helped to raise money to cover the costs. They worked with the artist during the project.

The artwork was designed to engage patients of all ages to create an inclusive environment, and as well as bright, cheerful colours and strong shapes, there is plenty of detail to distract young minds.

The artwork makes the ward seem less clinical and intimidating, and also contributes to a positive working environment for the staff.

"It was such a rewarding project to be involved in," says Sam. "We loved seeing the walls transformed day by day, and the reactions of the patients and their parents."

"There has been a really positive reaction from families," adds Grace. "Many of them are here for quite long periods of time and become very attached to these murals - it has made a huge difference to their experience of the hospital environment."

Find out more about artlink at

Pictured: Hannah Sparkles from the Paediatric Critical Care Unit in front of one of the murals.