Chairman’s Annual Report 2003

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AfH has had an active and productive year. Our membership continues to increase. We have had the opportunity to contribute to, participate in and generate more activities and initiatives than we currently have resources to take up and develop. We are actively seeking sponsorship, which will enable us to do more.

At last year’s AGM, Dermot O’Reilly left the executive committee, Susan Francis, Mike Nightingale, and Doug Wantling were re-elected to it, and Femi Santos was elected.

As usual, our main activity has been our programme of events for members. This year, for a variety of reasons, we have sometimes varied the locations. We would be pleased to receive feedback from members as to how you feel about this.

Reports of some of the events have been published on our website. It is our intention that this will be done routinely. I would like to thank Roger Walters for his work in realising this for us.

For the first time we have charged non-members for admission to some of our events to contribute towards the cost of organising and holding them. At this point we would like to thank Alan Baxter Associates and Richard Rogers for generously allowing us to use their meeting rooms without charge for some of our events.

This year’s programme of events has been varied, informative and enjoyable, and all events have been well attended. The AGM associated event last year invited some distinguished designers to respond to the question ‘What would I do if I were invited to design a hospital?’ The Reform Club Debate in February considered the motion, ‘This house believes that that method of procurement of healthcare facilities has nothing at all to do with patient care’.

In May, AfH and the NHS Confederation jointly hosted a half-day event on Diagnostic and Treatment Centres at the Commonwealth Club. The excellent presentations comprehensively explored this subject, providing insight and provoking reflection.

In June, we enjoyed a beautifully illustrated talk by Lawrence Nield from Australia, in which he discussed trends and developments, past, present and future, in the health sector, and compared this with other sectors.

Our September Event focused on the experiences and lessons learnt of architects, Trust clients and the private sector of the frenetic period of activity of the first eighteen months of the LIFT programme.

In October, a small group of AfH’s members spent a day visiting the Alcorcon Foundation Hospital on the outskirts of Madrid. This is the hospital visited by Alan Milburn while he was generating the initiative for foundation hospitals in this country. The insightful presentations by the Hospital’s management demonstrated how their organisation is structured and managed, and what it is achieving. Luis Fernandez Inglada, the architect of the hospital, talked about his approach to designing the building, and hospitals in general. It was unfortunate that more members did not benefit form this event.

AfH had an exhibition stand at the NHS Estates and IHEEM Conference in Harrogate in October. About fourteen practices contributed images of some of their buildings for display. The display generated a lot of attention and interest. AfH held a lunch time discussion group on peoples’ experiences of LIFT as a follow up to our September event.

For the sake of brevity, I have not specifically named the people who have contributed to the realisation of these events; by organising them, chairing them, and presenting at them. I sincerely thank everyone who enabled us to achieve such a successful programme. I would also like to thank staff at Tangram, Nightingale Associates, and my own office for their regular support.

There are two other items for me to briefly report on:

Early in the year AfH was invited to work with the RIBA on a request from NHS Estates to prepare a register of architects or practices experienced in health buildings (or of practices that would like to gain experience in this sector). While having many reservations, the executive decided that it would be better for AfH to utilise the experiences and resources of its membership by participating in this project if it progresses, rather than to exclude ourselves from it. We have offered to participate in identifying key relevant criteria and data which could inform clients, and are waiting for a response from the RIBA on this.

The final item for me to report is the progress of the Howard Goodman Fellowship. AfH and the Nuffield Trust have been working together on this. The arrangement is now in place for a Research Associate to be based in the Innovation Studies Centre at Imperial College London. The post is aimed at developing the work of the late Howard Goodman, formerly Chief Architect at the Department of Health and Social Security, and will focus on exploring how innovation in care delivery is shaping future requirements in healthcare facilities. The advertisement is imminent and the successful candidate should be in post early next year. Ray Moss has spent an enormous amount of time and energy in achieving this on our behalf, and I would like to formally acknowledge our appreciation.

I would like to end this report by thanking our sponsor, Polyflor, for their continuing support, all the members of the executive committee, and in particular Paul Mercer as Secretary and Nabil Hindi as Treasurer.

We look forward to 2004 – our 10th Anniversary year!

Thank you.

Ann Noble
27 October 2003

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