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All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Arts, Health and Wellbeing Launches Report

Date: 21/07/2017

A new report has been launched showing that the arts have a significant and positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing comes as the result of an inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW). The research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Three key findings of the report include:

1) The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived.

2) The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health.

3) The arts can help save money in the health service and in social care.

Arriving shortly after AHRC has just announced its £2.2m funding awards for tackling Anti-microbial Resistance, and announcments on the ESRC-funded Lancet report on Dementia prevention, intervention, and care, the evidence for the need of arts and humanities in health and social care has never been clearer.

Rt Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing said, ‘The time has come to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing." 

Launched at the House of Commons, presents the findings of nearly two years of research alongside roundtables and discussions with service users, health and social care professionals, artists and arts organisations, academics, policy makers and parliamentarians from all parties and both Houses in the most comprehensive overview of the field to date.

Research featuring in the report was conducted at King's College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing, The Royal Society for Public Health, and Arts Council England.

The report makes recommendations to Ministers, officials and a broad range of groups involved in both the arts and healthcare delivery, research, and practice to better understand the role of the arts in providing real-world solutions to the many challenges faced by today’s heath, wellbeing and social care services.

The report makes 10 recommendations, including:

• The establishment of a national strategic centre for arts, health, and wellbeing

• The development of a cross-governmental strategy to support the delivery of health and wellbeing through the arts and culture

• Appoint designated individuals to be responsible for arts, health and wellbeing within NHS England, Public Health England and each clinical commissioning group, NHS trust, local authority and health and wellbeing board

Lord Howarth also said, "We have been privileged to hear moving personal testimonies from individuals who have experienced remarkable improvements in their own health and wellbeing from engagement with the arts. This report sets out comprehensive evidence and numerous examples of practice which demonstrate the beneficial impact of the arts. However, we have also found that engagement of the arts in health and social care is unevenly spread and occurs little if at all in many places. We are calling for an informed and open-minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of the pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems."

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