Wall-to-wall support for Royal Free ICU staff

More than 1,000 pictures, most of them sent in by children, now adorn a corridor leading to the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Royal Free Hospital – and there are hundreds left over to create something similar at Barnet Hospital.

Sinead Hanton, a matron on the ICU who featured in last week’s two-part documentary in the BBC Hospital series, asked the charity if it could help brighten up a drab 23-metre corridor to raise the spirits of staff entering and leaving the ICU.

Following an appeal by the charity, a specialist graffiti design company, Graffiti Kings, offered to decorate one side of the wall with NHS super heroes imagery for the cost of the materials. And a further appeal led to the arrival of more than 1,500 pictures, 1,200 of them now on the other side of the corridor. The rest – and any more that arrive – will be used to create a similar morale booster at Barnet Hospital.

Sinead said: “In less than four weeks this long corridor has transformed from a place staff walk past many times each day without looking twice – including before and after the most challenging shifts – to a place which inspires, motivates and rejuvenates them, and which they visit as often as they can.

“We approached the charity, and I was blown away by the response – they have taken our initial idea and transformed it into something that really captures the current mood of thanks and support.”

An ICU physiotherapist said: “Opening this door now brings so much joy. Seeing all these beautiful pictures in a corridor which every member of the ICU team has walked up many times with tears, stress and sadness, but now are greeted by this love and happiness, is absolutely outstanding.”

Richard Scarth, interim chief executive of the charity, said: “Once we put the word out that this corridor needed cheering up, the response from the public was amazing and we were able to create this wonderful wall really quickly.

“I think people are so aware of how the staff at our hospitals are going the extra mile on every single shift at the moment, working in such challenging circumstances, that they want to dive in and help in any way they can. We’re so pleased we can channel that concern into practical help like this.”

Sinead also had support on the project from her colleague, Nima Roy, a graduate management trainee. “I was overwhelmed by the number of people who got in touch wanting to contribute – everything from teachers setting this as their class ‘homework’, to Princess Eugenie sharing a plea for art on her social media,” said Nima.

“I think everyone realises the incredible work the staff are doing every single day for us, and this is their way of saying ‘Thank you, we appreciate you, in our eyes you’re heroes’.”