Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust

St. Thomas’, Emergency Department (Adults)

Reducing violence & agression

One of the biggest issues facing A&E departments in recent years is violence and aggression, coming from patients, directed at staff in the form of verbal of physical abuse. A major 2013 study by the design council identified that one of the major factors is poor information design, which leaves patients feeling confused, disorientated, and angry, eventually leading to aggressive behaviours.

Our art strategy for the new A&E aims to help patients navigate their way through a complex environment and set of procedures, making the patient experience less frustrating, and thereby reducing aggression towards staff.

User-friendly graphics

We commissioned Artist and blogger Vahram Muratyan – famous internationally for his acute visual observations on everyday life – to create a set of graphics to make wayfinding intuitive and give each department and stage in the journey a sense of arrival.

These illustrations demarcate the space according to icons and colours, printed on vibrant Trovex material.

A real-time animation

The graphics also feature in a looping animation at the waiting area, which shows a vista of Westminster Bridge that changes in real time to according to the time, tide, weather and season. The St Thomas’ community has contributed short quotes about their favourite times of day and night, which pop up to match the conditions in the animation.


Further along the patient journey are two departments - majors, resuscitation – dealing with patients who are in a critical condition. The healing presence of art continues here in the form of large scale portals demarcating the entrance to both departments.


Resuscitation portal

Majors portal

“The new areas of the department feel more open and welcoming; the art work clearly separates our different areas making our busy department less confusing for patients and staff!”

- Service Manager, Adults’ Emergency, St Thomas'

Date 2013 - 2018
Sector Healthcare
Service Hospital, Emergency Department (A&E)
Commissioned by Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust
Artists Art in Site, Vahram Muratyan
Users Adult patients