Drama and research – helping to reimagine NHS heart and lung services for children and adults

Client challenge

King’s Health Partners (KHP) are bringing together heart and lung services provided at Brompton Hospital, the Evelina at St. Thomas’s Hospital and King’s College Hospital. All are world class services, with highly specialised care provided by outstanding doctors and nurses – so this is once in a generation opportunity!

Clinicians had given a great deal of thought to how services can be improved.  Now they wanted to hear from the adults, children and families using their services how they can put patient experience at the centre of their plans.

Our solution

The KHP vision is a single service which builds on the clinical practice for children and adults with many different long-term conditions.  So, we needed to make sure that we heard patient voices through a rich engagement process, that we covered the topics which were most important to patients and families, and that insight was captured which will be useful in driving real change.

Our approach through a series of online sessions combined Verve’s expertise in engagement in public services with Playing ON Theatre Company’s ability to connect with young people through drama and creativity.

We were privileged to work with KHP’s fantastic clinical teams who were on hand to help shape the dialogue, advise on technical aspects of the service, and bring their empathy, commitment and enthusiasm for change.

The outcome

This ground-breaking blend of professionally facilitated qualitative research (patient focus groups, depth interviews and clinical engagement) with creative workshops brought deeper insights than either approach on its own – particularly in involving children and young people.

We saw the potential for expressive arts to be channelled to inform development of some of the most technical and specialist of services. 

In fact, we believe this approach would be effective in in any setting – or for any public service.

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