Entertainers at St Mary’s Hospital win national health award

Entertainers who visit seriously ill children and teenagers at St Mary’s Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, have won a national newspaper award for their amazing work.

The Spread a Smile charity, which visit children at St Mary’s Hospital twice a month, was named best charity at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Health Awards 2017.

Spread a Smile’s regular visits bring magicians, musicians, poets, singers, fairies, face painters and even Cassie the pet therapy dog onto the wards to brighten up the day for young patients and their families. The visits have been funded for one year by a £5,000 grant from Imperial Health Charity, which supports the Trust’s five hospitals through grants, arts, volunteering and fundraising.

Hermione Lyall, consultant paediatrician and clinical director for children’s services at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We’re really pleased to see the work of Spread a Smile recognised. The patients on our ward are often very poorly and can be in hospital for long periods of time.

“These visits brighten up the day for patients, keeping them active and involved in fun activities. It can also help reduce anxiety for parents and carers when they see the impact the visits have.”

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “Last year we awarded more than £8 million to support a range of innovative healthcare projects across the Trust, but seeing the Spread a Smile team visiting St Mary’s never fails to warm the heart.

“Attentive and caring, the entertainers provide seriously ill children with a welcome distraction while they are staying in hospital or waiting for an outpatient appointment, as well as offering great comfort to parents during difficult times.”

The video used at the awards ceremony was created by The Sun during a visit to the bone marrow transplant ward at St Mary’s Hospital. You can watch the video here.