Blooming marvellous revamp for Scottish hospitals

Gardens and woodland retreats improve patient experience at Falkirk and Stirling hospitals

New garden areas have been created at Falkirk and Stirling hospitals

Outdoor spaces around Falkirk and Stirling community hospitals have been transformed as part of a drive to improve the environment for patients, staff and visitors.

Woodlands and grounds surrounding Falkirk Community Hospital, which were once part of a local estate, have been restored to their former glory by the Forestry Commission Scotland. The work has revealed mature apple trees and a new woodland pathway has been created to improve access.

Relaxing gardens have also been created at both Falkirk and Stirling hospitals following funding from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

Many of our patients are in hospital for a long time and being able to enjoy the fresh air, smells and beautiful colours makes a huge difference to their wellbeing

The charity handed over £175,000 to NHS Forth Valley in 2012 – the biggest ever single donation to be received from an individual charity – and some of this money has been used to give patients the opportunity to enjoy fresh air.

Margaret Paterson, Royal Voluntary Service head of service for Scotland, said: “It’s lovely to see the finished design and witness first-hand how much these new gardens are being enjoyed by patients, staff and visitors. Not only have they created a pleasant space to spend outdoors, but also provide a lovely outlook from the wards for those patients who cannot go outside.”

Avril Magill, NHS Forth Valley clinical nurse manager for community hospitals, added: “Many of our patients are in hospital for a long time and being able to enjoy the fresh air, smells and beautiful colours makes a huge difference to their wellbeing. It has also enabled our staff and visitors to spend more time outside with patients during breaks and visiting times, which is particularly appreciated when the weather is nice.”

The money to create the gardens was raised through a variety of local projects including the proceeds from RVS cafes at both hospitals. There will also be opportunities for patients and staff to get involved in some hands-on gardening, and Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have offered to help maintain the gardens and raised beds.

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