Phlebotomy, Evelina 1+

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust


In the Phlebotomy department at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, children face a daunting prospect: a blood test.


We developed a decorative cartoon strip, set in frames along the corridor, featuring illustrations of doctors, patients, and families – part of Kiriko Kubo’s“Evelina Gang” – who are also present elsewhere in the hospital. The strip demystifies clinical processes for children and parents. Characters are playful, yet informative, helping to eliminate fear of the unknown. 


We follow the journey of Boo – an anxious patient – as he embarks on his journey to get a blood test. Along the way Boo is comforted by other patients, and a kind doctor explains about where his blood is taken and how it is analysed and sent back to clinicians for review. As the story unfolds, Boo’s anxieties subside as his natural curiosity and wonder take over. By the end of the strip, he confidently strides out of frame, reassuring another incoming patient: “Don't worry, I just had a blood test, it was fine”. 


This story-led approach encourages children to identify with Boo, and to role-model what they’ve seen: patients can now approach blood tests with a resilient attitude, a trust in doctors, and even a curiosity for the process – which in turn improves doctor-child relations and speeds up clinic appointments.  

Once in the treatment rooms, staff use our attention-grabbing colour field mazes to engage patients and to distract them during the procedure. In contrast to the large, linear cartoon strip, these are some of our most detailed, sprawling mazes, featuring many“little people”, which act as a free-form distraction during blood tests themselves. 

Alongside, a specially-designed “Who’s who” board features illustrations of the nine phlebotomists in the dept, bringing a sense of individuality to the service, and helping to reinforce the message of a caring, trustworthy community.


Praise for Evelina 1+

“The art has really made a difference and helped soften the clinical environment… it makes the space not just functional but enjoyable.” 

- Snr Paediatric Phlebotomist"

Praise for Evelina 1+

“The artwork is fantastic. We really feel that you listened to us… it's doing exactly what you said it was going to do.”

- Patient youth forum representative

Praise for Evelina 1+

"Kids love it – they are telling us so. It’s worked so well because the engagement process allowed young adults to define their care environment."

- Jason Busby, Programme Director

Praise for Evelina 1+

“There is definitely a sense of shared identity now. It’s a light and bright environment – a really positive space which reflects how we go to work, it’s welcoming and uplifting for staff and patients. The art scheme and colours also help us feel very much part of the Evelina too, even though we’ve had to relocate.”

- Specialist Consultant Nephrologist

This case study is part of the wider “Evelina 1+” project, featuring artwork, wayfinding, and interior design for seven paediatric departments. Working in collabroation with illustrators – Andy Goodman, Kiriko Kubo, Richard Hogg – we developed several innovations, including art-lighting, marquetry, and distraction puzzles, evelating the hospital visit to an exprience of wonder, play, empathy, storytelling, and reassurance. 

(1) Cardiac Outpatients 
(2) MRI 
(3) Phlebotomy Currently reading
(4) Renal
(5) Sky Ward
(6) Snow Fox
(7) Snow Leopard


This artwork has been supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, which helps create a world-class environment for patients, staff and visitors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Find out more at


Date 2021

Sector Healthcare

Service Phlebotomy (ie. blood samples, blood test)

Commissioned Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust

Artist Art in Site, Kiriko Kubo

User Group Children & Families

Awards Building Better Healthcare Awards 2021, Winner, Best Interior Design Project – refurbishment

European Healthcare Design Awards 2021 Highly Commended, Interior Design & the Arts