Look what happened in York last week


Last week we planned a one day ‘Creative Forum’ for all trainees in ST1 and 2 on York and Scarborough GP Training Schemes. A group of arts educators, local artists, a TPD and a trainee facilitated learning by: ‘telling the evidence’, sharing patient stories, discussing patient cases in small inter-disciplinary groups and experiential learning (singing, dancing and a visual art project). It was such fun and a great educational experience.

Comments from one of the GP educators:

“It was wonderful to see the trainees singing and dancing together (and some of them stepping literally out of their comfort zones). I know it will have really encouraged them to think further about how to improve access to creative community services (and how to encourage the development of them).”


The event increased the knowledge of the trainees attending, helped them understand the concept of person-centred, holistic care and enabled them to explore and value their own creativity. We observed trainees to talking more to each other, sharing stories and making friends. We hope the trainees will go on to explore the creative resources in their community to find activities that may benefit their own health and wellbeing and that of their patients. This supports HEE Y&H initiative for all trainees in general practice to spend some of their study leave in a community-based organisation.

At the beginning of the day

At the end of the day

Word pictures created using The Manchester Colour Wheel evaluation tool and the words trainees used to describe their mood. 

These are comments taken from the written evaluation:

Experiencing the effect of the different forms of art on my own mood.’

‘How much I enjoyed the dancing and singing; it allowed me to switch off.’

‘Understanding that sometimes all a patient wants is a listening ear.’

‘Made you take a step back and reflect on the needs of people as a whole.’

‘It was such an eye opener - hearing the research that the arts can impact on health and wellbeing so significantly.’

‘I’m going to try new hobbies to improve my well-being.’

‘I will aim to practice what I have learnt: self care, personal development and patient-centered care’

‘Today was invigorating and therapeutic’

‘How universally happy everyone was engaging in the arts activities despite being hesitant or describing themselves as not creative.’

Dr Helen Ward, ST2 Trainee starts in the new post of Leadership Fellow for the Creative Arts in Primary Care in August and will be developing this work across our locality.






We also helped run a public event helping to raise local awareness of the benefits of the creative arts for Health and Wellbeing. The event was run as part of the ‘York Festival of Ideas’ and included a singing workshop and a performance by the Aviva work choir.  It was great fun and seemed to be appreciated by all.

Both events were hosted at the incredible National Centre for Early Music in York, run by Delma Tomlin and her team. A inspiring venue for learning.




With thanks to: Helen Ward- GP Trainee | Sam Fawcett - Ways to Wellbeing, York CVS | Hannah & Drew Wintie-Hawkins – York Dance Space | Jon Hughes – The Stonegate Singers | Stephen Clift, Vivien Ellis, Angus Mclewin – Director and Associate of The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health (Vivien is also a singer and choir leader)| Delma Tomlin, Lottie Brook and the team, The National Centre for Early Music, York | Arts Council England | York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust