Going for a song


A new drop-in choir for patients and carers is due to burst into song at the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s Medicinema from next month.

The choir will meet every other Tuesday between 10.30am and 11.30am from 11 September until the end of the year.

All Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NUTH) patients and carers are welcome to join in as often or as little as they want or are able to, and each session is free.

The sessions will be led by experienced choir leader and professional musician, Sharon Durant, and have been made possible through Music in Hospitals and Care, who aim to create joy through live music. Funding for the project was secured from the Postcode Care Trust.

Clinical Psychologist Dr Siobhan Currell, said: “There is a wealth of evidence about the benefits of group singing for our physical and psychological wellbeing. Through this choir we hope to bring some of these benefits to patients receiving care in our Trust, whether they are currently staying in hospital as inpatients or are accessing NUTH services as outpatients at our hospitals and community sites.

“We know that people’s moods can understandably suffer when they are staying in hospital for lengthy admissions, away from their usual routine, hobbies, friends and family.

“We hope that, for those who are well enough to leave the ward, being able to come to a choir for an hour out of their day can provide a well needed boost.

“There are also a lot of carers who spend time visiting loved ones in our hospitals, or are out in the community providing care, who might value an hour of time for their own wellbeing and enjoyment.

“Prior experience and a good singing voice are not necessary – this is an informal choir singing popular music, providing the opportunity for people to have a joyful experience through music regardless of vocal ability.”

The benefits of singing in a choir include improved mental wellbeing and recovery; reduced stress; improved circulation; improved lung health; enhanced immune systems; the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals; reduced depression, worry and rumination; reduced loneliness and isolation and increased self-esteem.

Some people may have health conditions which mean it would be unwise to attend the choir for their or others’ safety. These are:

·         Patients who are being isolated due to an infection or because they have low immunity

·         Patients or carers who think they may have an infectious illness e.g. symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in the last 48 hours

·         People with Cystic Fibrosis, who are advised to avoid group activities

If unsure and you are in hospital, please speak to a member of your nursing team. If you are no longer in hospital, please speak to your GP.

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