Forth Flora © Lorna Fraser, photo by Shannon Tofts

Our Aims

Tonic Arts aims to improve and support health and wellbeing through a vibrant creativity and arts programme, enhancing the patient, staff and visitor experience and the healthcare environment across NHS Lothian.


Vision for the NHS Lothian Charity: Tonic Arts Programme:

  • To improve and support the health and wellbeing of NHS Lothian patients, carers, visitors and staff.
  • To deliver a quality Arts in Health programme, enhancing the NHS Lothian healthcare environment and patient experience.
  • To nurture and develop NHS Lothian’s Tonic Collection, Art & Therapeutic Design, Galleries and Get Involved programmes on behalf of NHS Lothian.
  • To celebrate and develop the benefits of the arts in health and promote a culture in which they are valued across the NHS.
  • To work with NHS Lothian, specialist arts organisations and cross-sector partners towards these aims.

Art helps us access and express parts of ourselves that are often unavailable to other forms of human interaction […] A world without art is an inhuman world. Making and consuming art lifts our spirits and keeps us sane. Art, like science and religion, helps us make meaning from our lives, and to make meaning is to make us feel better.”

Grayson Perry

Programme Strategy 2023 – 2028


  • To continue to integrate quality, collaborative art and therapeutic design into new and refurbished NHS Lothian interior and exterior sites.
  • To continue to support and grow a relevant, uplifting NHS Lothian Charity art collection, making it accessible to all across NHS Lothian.
  • To develop an engaging exhibition programme across major hospital sites.
  • To continue to support the innovative participatory and live arts programme for vulnerable or long stay patients and in public spaces.
  • To increase awareness of the benefits of arts in health through training, research and communications.
  • To develop the capacity and support to manage and deliver a sustainable arts in health programme.

The effect in sickness of beautiful objects, of variety of objects, and especially of brilliancy of colours is hardly at all appreciated […] People say the effect is on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too. […] Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery.”

Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing 1859