Rainbow sculpture at Stoke Mandeville Hospital will say thank you to NHS and hospice staff

An artist's impression of the new sculptureAn artist's impression of the new sculpture
An artist's impression of the new sculpture
Florence Nightingale Hospice and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust submitted planning application for the installation

A rainbow sculpture will remember forever the hard work of NHS staff and key workers during the pandemic is set to appear at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The sculpture plans, which were submitted to Buckinghamshire Council's planning team this week, are for a monument which pays tribute to NHS staff and social care workers for their service to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The project is the brainchild of Florence Nightingale Hospice and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, and bosses say they want the sculpture to also memorialise the resilience and community spirit shown by the people of Buckinghamshire, in responding to the subsequent lockdown in 2020.

Nightingale’s Rainbow will consist of an arch covered with 17,000 coloured tiles in rainbow colours, with planting around it and a patio and seating underneath.

During the peak of the coronavirus emergency, the rainbow became a symbol of hope and solidarity with the NHS, and many people around the country displayed rainbows in their windows to show their support for the NHS. Florence Nightingale also gave her name to the Nightingale Hospitals. So the name “Nightingale’s Rainbow” incorporates both of these NHS associations and also Florence Nightingale Hospice which continued to care for those who were terminally ill before and during the crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on the residents of Buckinghamshire,” says Jo Turner, CEO of Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity. “At a stroke, normal life stopped and family life changed. Furloughed families worried about their future, newly working from home families often struggled to manage work and childcare. People who were shielding had to stay at home and rely on strangers to bring them their food and medicine.”

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There have been around 300 deaths and 1,832 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buckinghamshire, and the wider societal impacts are extensive with 63,000 local people having been furloughed from their jobs and 90,000 pupils unable to go to school for half the academic year.

“The crisis has had particular relevance to Florence Nightingale Hospice and Stoke Mandeville Hospital,” the Charity says. “Both had to close for visitors and staff had to wear full PPE when supporting patients. The sensitive, delicate and empathetic relationships between Nurses and families had to change as more contact was made by phone and via the internet, and in-person contact became more difficult. All staff had to adapt incredibly quickly, and provide extra support for people who could not be with their loved ones while they were in hospital. The Hospice’s Bereavement Support team also contacted every family whose loved ones died in the Hospital.”

“Nightingale’s Rainbow gives our community the opportunity to thank everyone at BHT for their service to the community before and during the pandemic. If you or someone you love has received care in hospital or at the Hospice, or at home through Community or District Nurses, this is an opportunity to show appreciation for the care provided by our healthcare teams, and the money raised through donations will help to fund services and equipment provided by the Hospice and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust,” says Jo.

Members of the public can purchase tiles on the Rainbow for a donation of £20 a tile, and the proceeds will be split between FNHC and the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Charitable Fund.

The architect’s design in the image is subject to planning permission, with a decision expected in October.

You can donate online at fnhospice.org.uk/nightingales-rainbow