Smiley dinosaur in Royal London hospital helps children get better

A young patiernt with her nurse and the Thames skyline curtain brightening up the ward

A young patiernt with her nurse and the Thames skyline curtain brightening up the ward - Credit: Barts Health NHS Trust

The bright Thames skyline and a dinosaur in children’s hospital wards at the Royal London have been installed to transport the young patients to a world far away from the medical environment.

A young patiernt with her nurse and the Thames skyline curtain brightening up the ward

A young patiernt with her nurse and the Thames skyline curtain brightening up the ward - Credit: Barts Health NHS Trust

Top artists and designers were commissioned to put a magic touch to the wards to reassure the 40,000 youngsters cared for each year on the seventh floor of the new hospital complex overlooking Whitechapel.

Bedside curtains with a panoramic view of the Thames, hot air balloons and kites in the sky and animals playing on the riverbank were specially designed by textile artist Ella Doran.

“A seminal moment for me was when a three-year-old girl stopped crying the moment she saw the curtains,” Ella reveals. “She pointed excitedly to the hidden cats and rabbits — that’s when I knew my design had worked.”

Life-size vinyl animals frame the corridor, like the dinosaur peering down from the ceiling who was probably last seen in east London around 65 million years ago, now being looked after by a monkey dressed as a doctor.


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The idea follows research showing children feel better when their hospital environment is spruced up, which helps reduce anxiety and actually improves their appetite and response to treatment.

Barts Health NHS Trust’s Sally Shearer said: “These fun designs ease fears of being in a scary building and create a warm and comforting place of healing instead.”

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But the friendly dinosaur is no strain on NHS resources—the artwork was commissioned with donations from Barts Charity.

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