Designs on Health – AfH Exhibition Stand at IHEEM 2012

“Our most successful stand yet…described as the “jewel in the crown” of the Exhibition Hall.

The new format succeeded in showcasing members work, with informative and entertaining panels highlighting the aims and aspirations of Practices, Health Clients and of course,  Architects for Health. We were pleased to host many members on the stand and will be responding to all new membership and sponsorship enquiries received.

With our focus for the coming year covering topics including, designing for physical disability, bariatric design, neuro-rehab support, dementia and sensory impairment. We succeeded in tickling all the senses, visually the stand looked fantastic, the fox’s glacier fruits tasted great, our silent corner provided respite from the hubbub,  whilst offering the most comfortable seats in the house, courtesy of Hitch Mylius.  The sixth sense is in tune and say’s “submit next year to avoid disappointment” and avoid Clients asking you the question …”Where’s my scheme and why haven’t you submitted?”

Members who submitted entries for this year’s exhibition were not disappointed, together with having the opportunity of an award they all received the added bonus of their images being presented to the European Health Property Network (EuHPN) event in Copenhagen.

And so to the results of our “internationally judged competition” with. Gold, silver and bronze awards being presented in our Olympic year to:-

AfH Gold award 2012, BDP’s Alderhey Children’s Hospital AfH Silver award 2012, HLM’s Cynon Valley Community Hospital AfH bronze award 2012, P H + S’s Houghton-le-Spring Primary Care Centre

Our thanks go to Tye Farrow and John Cole for undertaking the judging, in what proved to be a broad range of entries.

A very successful event for all those involved, will you join in the fun next year?”

For this year exhibition of members projects see the gallery:

Rosemary Jenssen, AfH Executive member

AfH Wales Trip 2012



10 July 2012

Leaving Cardiff by coach, the Architects for Health study group wound their way through the spectacular Welsh countryside to the new local general hospital, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, located in the former mining town of Ystrad Mynach, five miles north of Caerphilly.

Officially opened in November 2011, the new hospital provides replacement services for three former hospitals in the borough of Caerphilly, co-locating all services under one roof.  In addition the hospital provides a range of services previously only available from the major acute centres.

The hospital provides 226 beds (26 of which are located in the elderly mental health unit), being one of the first to provide 100% single en-suite bedrooms (more of that to follow).  Services available at the hospital include a 24 hour local emergency centre (together with GP out of hours services), integrated mental health unit, day surgery, diagnostic, outpatient, therapies and a midwife led birthing unit.

The hospital was designed by Nightingale Associates and built by BAM under the ‘Designed for Life’ framework which was set up by the Welsh Assembly in 2006 to provide strategic partnering to support the aspiration to provide world class healthcare services in Wales by 2015.

Arranged over three principal levels, the main entrance is located at one end of the hospital street announced by an elegant glazed prow featuring coloureds glazed panels atop a terracotta entrance vestibule at the northern end of the site, creating a four storey galleried void within.  The main clinical accommodation is raised up one level to acknowledge the hospital’s location within a flood plain adjacent to the River Rhymney, allowing some 600 car parking spaces to be provided beneath the building ( very popular with the staff ) .  Visitors drop off and emergency accesses are both provided at the upper level.

Moving from the main entrance, the clinical accommodation is arranged on either side of the hospital street, a long naturally lit artery with wards formed in V-shaped blocks creating triangular courtyards one side and trapezoidal blocks on the other.  Landscaped courtyards help to articulate the journey along the street and also provide welcome visual interest.  The courtyard elevations are clad with silver grey composite metal cladding (possibly the result of value engineering?) which is relieved by large glazed screens to the street articulated with multi-coloured aluminium fins attached to the curtain wall. Internally, the circulation spaces adopt a simple muted palette of white walls, grey floors and full height oak doors set in glazed screens collectively providing a blank canvass for future artwork.

An unfortunate consequence of the move to raise the building up one level is the visual dominance of the car parking at the lower level and the physical disconnect of the courtyards from the clinical accommodation which seemed to be a missed opportunity given the hospital’s dramatic location.

Public spaces within the building, however, are particularly well handled with the use of the building section to create a selection of double height spaces in the restaurant and other waiting areas, naturally lit from a variety of sources, although the selection of standard furniture disappointingly did not match the aspirations of the architecture.

Each 30 bedded V-shaped ward is accessed from a single shared reception at the junction of the street and the V form, from where the single bedrooms are simply arranged either side of the corridor, with the en-suite bathrooms placed back to back between bedrooms.  Full height glazed screens to each bedroom allow natural light to filter into the corridor and allow patients to control privacy through the use of integral blinds.

Each bedroom is identical in layout, with vertical bedhead trunking always located to the left of the bed and in between the bed and en-suite bathroom.  The plan form allows each room to benefit from a large window divided into three horizontal panels, providing a choice of ventilation at low or high level, although the height of the cill in the typical bedroom visited was a little high to benefit views of the landscaping at the lower levels from the bed.  Anecdotal patient feedback was generally good, although some had felt ‘a little isolated’ despite day rooms being provided within each ward.

The long tapered shape of the site clearly informed the overall parti, and whilst there remained nagging doubts about the resolution of the flood plain, parking and entrance arrangements, the success of the project must be judged on the key ambitions of the scheme- namely, the bringing together of disparate clinical services under one roof combined with the decision to provide 100% single rooms.


10 July 2012

Following lunch at Ystrad Fawr, the AfH contingent travelled to Ebbw Vale, to visit Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan, the new local general hospital for Blaenau Gwent, some 35 miles north of Caerphilly which opened in October 2010.

Located on the site of the former Ebbw Vale steelworks which closed in 2004, the hospital was one of the first projects on the site intended to regenerate the area.  Other developments on site recently completed or under construction include some pilot eco-homes, a post 16 college and a new primary school.

Delivered under the same ‘Designed for Life’ procurement as Ystrad Fawr, the hospital forms part of the wider national strategy to reconfigure and improve the provision of healthcare services throughout Wales.  Services previously provided at two hospitals are now brought together in one facility to serve the whole catchment area of Blaenau Gwent.

These include 96 in-patient bedrooms – the first to provide 100% single en-suite accommodation incorporating an adult mental health unit with out-patient, day care and an 11 bedded in-patient facility.  Other services include an out-patients department, an urgent care centre, a birthing unit, diagnostic support and a large therapies unit.

Unlike Ystrad Fawr, the site for the hospital was not affected by flood plain issues and here all accommodation is readily accessed from ground level, with the entrance located more centrally within the plan, minimising travel distances to the main wards which are all located at first floor level.  Visitors are greeted with a pleasant entrance and cafe area with views out to a landscaped courtyard.

In plan, the building features similar V-shaped ward design to the Ystrad Fawr creating triangular shaped courtyards, with the therapies and mental health unit forming extended legs at ground level.  Here the courtyards are far more successful by virtue of their location at ground level, with access afforded from the perimeter and the bright, white  render treatment to the internal courtyard elevations creates a cheerier finish than the silver grey cladding panels at Ystrad Fawr.

The therapies unit makes particularly good use of the site by using the external spaces as part of the rehabilitation ‘garden’, where patients are able to use pathways etc. to aid movement and recovery.

Establishing a similar colour and finishes palette of white walls, grey floors and oak doors, the interiors are complimented by well-designed joinery details to the main stair and principal reception desks.  Externally the elevations are comprised of a collage of materials including stone faced block, fibre cement panels and splashes of copper cladding, referencing the former industrial nature of the site. The indented entrance façade creates a vehicular drop off point, and all car parking is located a short distance from the main entrance.

The design of the single bedrooms is identical to the Ystrad Fawr, but here grouped into 32 bed wards, accessed at the centre of the ward on  the point of the ‘V’, thereby creating an ‘L’ shaped ward.  Each ward benefits from a day room (some complete with a terrace), to provide social space for in-patients, however these were not being used as intended apparently due to the short stay of patients and their preference to remain in their rooms – perhaps a reflection to their success.  As an unintended consequence, staff have apparently ‘adopted’ these unofficially!!

Whilst a year separated the opening of the two hospitals visited, it is evident they were born from the same design approach, evolving from the detail resolution of the single bedroom, the design of the V-shaped wards enclosing landscaped courtyards through to the adoption of similar interior detailing and colour palette.

This design approach represents a move to a more patient focussed healthcare system, reinforced by the co-location of a range of sub-acute clinical services under one roof and taken together, the hospitals can be seen as physical evidence of a step change in the provision of healthcare in Wales in the twenty first century.

Teenage Cancer Trust at University Hospital for Wales

Opened in July 2009, the ‘Skypod’ at University Hospital of Wales follows the same guiding principles promoted by the Teenage Cancer Trust in all their centres nationwide. Essentially the charity’s mission is to provide inpatient and day care services to cancer patients between 13 to 24 years in age appropriate settings. Applauded for the charity’s trademark for design inspired interiors, this unit shown to us by nurse consultant Laura Clark and lead nurse Jenny Labaton was no exception. Whilst making a bold design statement the ‘Skypod’ was sensitively articulated to communicate to a very specialist patient user.

On a difficult infill site, the unit is appropriately located between the paediatric and adult oncology departments. ORMS designed the first and second floor extension on stilts to sit over existing ground level accommodation. Architecturally the extension is a gallant eye catching insertion into a nondescript backdrop of concrete and pebble dash.

Arrival to the unit via a dedicated lift delivered us to the first floor of the extension, where the bedrooms, 2 singles and 2 three-bed bays are located around a central nurse station/ reception area. For patients requiring a higher level of care such as post surgical and transplant, one of the single bedrooms has an accessible en-suite bathroom fitted with ceiling hoist and is HEPA filtered. This single bedroom is otherwise identical to the adjacent one, fully presented as a teenage friendly space with desk/ dressing table, computer games console and feature lighting.

In the three-bed bays specifically, visual privacy is afforded by the design of the cubicle curtains which were formed by multiple layers of textiles, each giving differing degrees of transparency. As well as providing full visual privacy as and when needs dictate, the layers also offer a subtle and useful communication tool for the patients to indicate their reservation/ desire for social engagement at the bed side. Should some social interaction be sought beyond the bed space, a sliding screen at the end of the room reveals a discrete den shared between the 2 no. three-bed bays. The living area located on the second floor, occupies the majority of the floor plate and has open views over the hospital site offered by the full height glazed balcony doors. The space is open plan and multi-functional other than for a curved timber cladded structure which encapsulates the ‘chill-out zone’. Darkly lit and softly furnished, this space provides a cocoon-like hideaway for those wishing to retreat. The attention paid to privacy, dignity and social issues shown in the living areas and the bed bays is a key demonstration of the response to patient-focussed needs.

Significantly, around the time this project was launched, a study was commissioned by the charity and undertaken by The Futures Company. With the aim to address the real needs of patients, their friends, families and staff, ‘control, comfort, stimulation, personalisation and connectivity’ were reported as “benefit platforms”. It was clear from our visit that the design of this unit works hand in hand with the model of care to deliver on these “benefit platforms” in responding sensitively to the physical and emotional needs of young people whilst also championing the relationship between the built environment and health outcomes.

Cynon Valley Hospital

The final visit on the AfH tour took us to the Cynon Valley, where the new £60m Ysbyty Cwm Cynon sits in the centre of the flood plain. Designed by HLM Architects and completed in Spring 2012, the hospital is based on an unusual radial design and spread, over 2 storeys. Patients and visitors arrive at the centre of the circle, giving the impression that the building is welcoming the community as its wings embrace the main entrance approach.

With a floor area of 18,500sqm, the building provides primary care support for the neighbourhood including outpatient care, minor injuries, therapies suite, diagnostic facilities on the ground level. On the first floor, we find four flexible 25 bed medical wards as well as ancillary administration and plant rooms. A midwife led birthing unit was also planned for this area but it was not completed

The accommodation is arranged in two concentric curved wings punctuated by a string of planted courtyards around which the departments wrap. The hospital street between the two forms follows a gentle arc that reduces it’s perceived length and links to the entrance atrium part way along in the form of a wedge providing views through to the hills beyond.

Although this building was completed after the Aneurin bevan and Ystrad Fawr hospitals, the design work started as far back as 2001 before the advent of Designed for Life Procurement Frameworks and the 100% single bed ward agenda. Arguably the flexible wards are more appropriate to accommodate rehab inpatients in any case. The fact that the project was procured traditionally is reflected in the quality of internal finishes. For example, the solid surface acrylic forming the booths in the dental suite were particularly well detailed – subtle in design and finely finished.

Flexibility were built into the wards by a common template, but what distinguishes them from standard ward designs is the generous floor to ceiling height of 3.3m which in combination with exposed concrete soffits offer a sense of spaciousness, comfort and a clutter-free aesthetic.

The art strategy themed around nature followed consultations with staff and art consultants. These were presented as sculpture, murals, photography and paintings. One memorable installation assembled from large carved stone panels draws the eye along the atrium on entry to the building.

Whilst this hospital is less striking in it’s architectural execution than Ystrad Fawr and Aneurin Bevan in terms of material palette and form, it’s real success lies in the attention given to the design of the interior and it’s attempt to enhance the user experience by features such as the colour-themed canopies to each department threshold, generous restaurant terrace overlooking the hills and the well presented courtyards.


Collaborative practices: artists and architects 20th June 2012

Another full-house for the Architects for Health’s collaborative practices showcase on the 20th June, the first event to be hosted within the new Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Morgan Stanley Clinical Building “Lagoon staff space”, part of the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre.

Over 70 attendees, participated in this special event, as part of London Arts for Health Forum’s “Creativity and Well-being week”. AfH hosted an energising evening of presentations and discussions focussing on collaborative partnerships.

Following brief guided tours for over 50  AfH members and guests, thanks goes to Great Ormond Street and Lewellyn Davies Yeang representatives, for successfully herding the four troupes around the first phase of this impressive facility.

The evening started with a “word from our sponsors”, Hitch Mylius. It was great to hear from an award winning British manufacturer, striving to create beautiful contemporary upholstered furniture for use within healthcare settings. Guests were invited to test out their healthcare range of chairs, showcased within many familiar schemes including ACAD and the Evelina.

Robert Etchell and Mark Gage, of Llewelyn Davies Yeang, provided an overview of the design and delivery of the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre, first phase. This “deep green” medical building sets a new benchmark in Children’s Hospital design. Successful collaboration, staying power, commitment and talent, were all evident and became the recurring themes of the evening.

Artist Kate Blee’s and Claudia Bloom’s (Avanti Architects), “from earth to sky” presentation on the Learning Resource Centre and Pathology Building at Southmead Hospital, demonstrated the benefits of architect and artist collaborative working. The sheer depth and detail of the work which goes into generating unique and location specific artwork was humbling. The introduction of a single red tile amongst the work titled “one in a million” was an act of genius, as the conclusion to the journey and understanding of the work within, which was described as “a hive of activity”. It really was a tale of “where two worlds collide”, the determined artist and architect, focussed on specific elements, working alongside an equally determined contractor constructing the building, culminating in “joyful” partnership working sealed with a mars bar.

Artist Julia Ridge and Architect Julia Dwyer, “little and large” presentation showcasing the “large” as North Middlesex PFI with the “little” as Homerton Hospital’s Mother and Baby unit. They seemed to understand the “very fast or very slow” PFI culture instantly, when delivering the media wall and lift lobby storyboards at North Middlesex Hospital new build PFI. Story’s/Stories/Storeys of “shed man public engagement”, “social wall-paper” and an injection of humour, underpinned the delivery of some very engaging pieces, which were all about communication and localism. For me the line of “120 languages, 120 ways to say hello” captured the spirit of their approach and collaboration. My one disappointment was in hearing of the oldest tree on the Homerton Hospital site that the line “we saved it from chipping” was expanded to “we saved it from chipping, by having it milled on site”. Having said that it was unclear whether it was standing in the way of the development, but it’s timber was used to create a unique and very relevant piece of artwork based on measurement. Little and Large Presentation.

Artist Heather Barnett and Poet Will Holloway, saved the best to last with their presentation simply titled “flow”, telling the story of the art within the new Chemotherapy unit in the Guy’s Hospital tower working with Greenhill Jenner. I took the title to be advice i.e., to go with the flow and see what develops when engaging in consultation and artistic endeavour, be playful “let it flow”. The opening line of “95% of art in architecture is about beauty but Will and Heather have moved away from that”, caught our attention and desire to hear more. Once again the depth of thought, the introduction of a sense of daring, humour and of pushing boundaries pervaded their work. The “repeat viewing appeal” reference to their “atlas of journeys” was an understatement, it was fascinating, clever, though-provoking and “beauty may be in the eye of the beholder” but I thought it was beautiful for all those reasons.

To be treated to the level of detail and hear about “the journey”, “the process” as well as admire the end product, made for a truly inspirational evening

Susan Francis summarised the evening’s presentations and discussions “as a bringing together of art in it’s widest sense and architecture, hosting a creative process within technical necessities. It was an inspiration to see such imagination and creativity impacting on spaces and ultimately on us. ”

Lastly we would like to thank our hosts, Jo Trussler (GOSH clinical planner) and Victoria Jones (GOSH Head of GO create), for supporting the event and making us all feel so welcome.


International Meeting Australia 10th May 2012

A full-house for the Architects for Health’s International meeting on the 10th May at the RIBA.

With over 80 attendees, including 18 guests from the Antipodean Health study tour, AfH hosted an enlightening evening of presentations and lively debate focussing on Healthcare planning and design in Australia.

The evening started with a “word from our sponsors”, the Copper Development Association. They provided an update and some extremely encouraging evidence, through clinical trials, of the beneficial effects of copper in relation to infection control. Any product which can boast a 75% reduction in HAI through the introduction of just 6 copper components has got to be worthy of further research. Interestingly, with no examples of this in practice within the UK or Australia, there’s a real opportunity for learning from this global best practice and being one of the first to use copper “touch surfaces” components within the UK and Australia.

Andy Black (Andy Black CV), of Durrow Consulting, provided an illuminating overview of the Royal Adelaide Hospital briefing process, comparing the two approaches of ‘centralised’ and ‘distributed’, to designing a University Hospital for the future. Andy emphasised the importance of the civic status and presence of a University Hospital, as one which could re-invigorate and re-generate it’s host city. Andy Black presentation.

Dr Keith Joe, (Keith Joe CV) of the Australian Centre for Health Innovation, presented a fresh perspective of healthcare design, through the eyes of a practising Health professional specialising in Trauma medicine. Keith shared his experience and his ideas for his ED, which reflected his vision of using “the most advanced IT systems and best recent thinking”, resulting in the Royal Melbourne Hospital ED being totally electronic. Keith shared his view on the latest IT systems and technologies, challenging all of us present to “design for mission control in all your Hospitals”. Dr Keith Joe presentation.

Jane Carthey, (Jane Carthey CV) of the Australian Health Design Council, shared with us her work at Rice Daubney Architecture, including the inspirational Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Centre at the Royal Prince Albert Hospital in Sydney. Jane told the story of Chris O’Brien’s experience, similar to that of Maggie Jencks, with a comparable “humane” response to creating a facility to treat the whole person. Jane Carthey presentation.

Ruari Reeves, (Ruairi Reeves CV) Associate MAAP, presented the story of the New Glenside Health facilities in Adelaide, highlighting the benefit of the “enablement stage” where a new model of care could be tested. This new 129 bed mental health facility, quietly understates it’s “big idea” through modest single storey architecture. The re-interpretation of the South Australia vernacular architecture with a combination of verandas and gardens provides a uniquely local response whilst delivering a potentially global solution for large scale mental health facilities. Ruairi Reeves presentation.

Jeff Menkens and Brendan Kelly, (Jeff Menkens & Brenden Kelly CV) Principals at Hassell’s Perth Studio, concluded the presentations with a detailed design presentation of the 800 bed Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia. Whilst absorbing the scale of the scheme across the equivalent of four city blocks, the team managed to retain the original concept of reflecting the bush-land context. It was refreshing to hear how the façade treatment had been inspired by a particular native flower, responding to the specific solar conditions of this location. Brenden Kelly and Jeff Menkens presentation copy.

John Cooper summarised the evening’s presentations as a “embodying synergies across context, master-planning, civic importance and local sensitivity,  providing a uniquely Australian contribution to the Global debate on Healthcare design”

Lastly we would like to thank our guests, who having seen 14 healthcare facilities in 10 days across the Netherlands, Norway and England, managed to find time (and the energy) to participate in such an enjoyable and informative evening.

RCJ 14.05.12

AfH Annual General Meeting 2011-2

Last year was a success. We held seven events in 2011, all of which were well attended and highly regarded; in addition we arranged 3 visits to recently opened health buildings mostly outside London; in all, 4 events took place out of London; and 3 events specifically showcased international projects from places as far and wide as Brazil, Denmark, France, Spain, Netherlands, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and Turkey.

We launched our new website and we had a stand showcasing members projects at 2 national conferences. Our membership numbers have increased, our database is in good order and equally importantly, members have paid their subscriptions. Our finances are in sound order.

We have a full calendar of events for 2012. We held a very exciting and successful Student Design Charette  with London South Bank University and MARU in January. We visited South Bristol Community Hospital and are arranging to see more buildings in Wales this summer. We are planning joint events with other organisations including the London Arts for Health Forum, London Design Week, IHEEM, HEI and EUHPN.

Thanks to the Executive Committee Members and Director, Susan Francis, for making it all happen.

Executive committee

We would also like to thank 3 co-opted committee members who are standing down – Tim Peters, David McNeish and Richard Griffin. Roy Carroll, Claudia Bloom and Marissa Shek have been voted onto the Executive Committee for a three year term 2012-15. Carol Crane, Chris Shaw and Leslie Welch have been co-opted onto the committee for this year 2012. The appointment of Susan Francis as Director has been extended.


We are very grateful to Polyflor for continuing to provide corporate sponsorship. We received generous sponsorship from Mace for the 2012 Student Design Competition and are delighted that they have committed to sponsoring us again next year. Five architectural practices also sponsored the Student Design Charette. We are continuing to seek further sponsorship for our events programme.

John Cooper Chair  AfH

Proposition: Responding to Change 15 March 2012

AfH set out a proposition that design is crucial to the survival of NHS organisations, and that as the designer’s role shifts from procurement to change management so design professionals need to change the way they work.

We invited 3 speakers to talk about their specific experiences of working in different ways

Arnold Levin             Principal/Workplace Strategy Dir NBBJ

Chris Shaw               Director Medical Architecture

John Worthington    Founder of DEGW

Arnold Levin described the difference between change and change management: he suggested that design professionals often engage in discussions at a briefing stage about how the organisation would like to do things in the future: but few get beyond communication and space use to understand how corporations/ clients operate and how they can actually implement change. Various models are already up and running that can be deployed to support this process such as The STAR model, organographs etc and that help to link change at the strategic level. Transitional planning can be tested using actors and staff to run through scenarios before hospitals open to tests processes and designs. How do we shift the paradigm of design into a broader and more strategic context?

Chris Shaw sketched out the difference between procurement based consultation and developing a vision for the future involving identifying the movers and shakers that can implement change. Stakeholder engagement as part of procurement based design is backward looking; it is designed to get buy-in rather than promote vision as well as being inefficient and costly. Liverpool Academic Medical Centre is a vehicle for developing a different process in which wider issues of health care strategy for the city can be opened up for debate.

John Worthington invited us to consider the building as an asset and to think about improving business performance through innovative property solutions. He suggested that

  • Efficiency is about making the most of the space
  • Effectiveness is about making the most of people
  • Expression is about the brand and the messages

The role of designers is to moderate and optimise in a process of continuous change. He urged us to think about making the most of the neighbourhood context, thinking laterally, and about devising a non-determinant architecture.

As clients become more resilient in the business place, so designers will find themselves in a position to manage space, time and technology through collaboration to achieve strategic change.

We turned the world upside down and then tried to imagine what designers would do to effect change in a strategic and visionary way.  It was a challenge and it was fun!

For full presentations please see below:

Design for Change, Christopher Shaw
Changing how we work and managing the change, Arnold Levin
Your Building as an Asset, John Worthington

Health, Environment and Infrastructure event in Leeds 22nd February 2012.

Architects for Health exhibited and presented at the Health, Environment and Infrastructure event in Leeds on the 22nd February 2012.

The event provided an opportunity to show case members work and promote “Architects for Health” in the North.

Rosemary Jenssen, Executive Committee member of AfH, attended and presented on “100% single rooms – dispelling the urban myth”. It was great to see so many committed delegates remaining to hear Rosemary’s presentation, in the final slot of the day. We trust they were rewarded by an insightful presentation and personal view of current situation in relation to single bedrooms, from both the patients, staff and managers perspectives.

It is astonishing that since the publication of the EUHPN Report in 2004, “Determinants influencing single room provision”, and the evidence contained there-in that only one NHS 100% single bedroom Hospital has been built In England. Within the next generation of PFI Hospital developments, three have committed to 100% single bedrooms.

We now have a number of 100% single bedroom Hospitals in operation (Pembury Hospital as visited by AfH members in May, with visits to other 100% single bedded Hospitals planned in 2012). Research needs to be undertaken and the findings published to support the “dispelling of the urban myths around capital and revenue costs”.

In exploring the changing attitudes and expectations of each generation, it was illuminating to hypothesise as to the demands which might be placed by empowered and informed patients and families. In the age of “NHS savings” and reduced income, could 100% single bedrooms provide the answer? By providing patients with their own personal space (within a single bedroom), could the clinician-patient dynamic be shifted? How will the social needs be addressed for longer term patients? Florence Nightingale recognised that “unnecessary noise…….absence of care…..will do more harm….than all the medicines in the world will do good.” Could 100% single rooms be the catalyst for change for the good or “the straw that finally breaks the NHS camel’s back”?

Many of the Speakers presented very topical and informative material including, Trevor Payne on UCLH’s approach to Sustainability and carbon reduction, and David Harper on the much debated issue of Pseudomonas.

The event was well attended with over 30%, of the 100 attendees, representing NHS Trust organisations including Estates Directors, Estates Managers, Capital Projects Managers  and Maintenance Managers.

In our drive to promote the organisation at Regional events, we have committed to support HEI at their Bristol event on the 25th April, more details to follow.

Visit to the New South Bristol Community Hospital

The first regional Architects for Health event in the SW took place on 20th January, when a group of nearly 20 members visited the new South Bristol Community Hospital.  Designed by AWW, built by Carillion and procured through the Bristol LIFT initiative, the hospital forms part of the Hengrove Park regeneration project.  When it opens in April it will replace the old Bristol General Hospital and provide a range of primary healthcare facilities, including diagnostic and treatment facilities, a Minor Injuries Unit, day surgery operating theatres and 60 inpatient beds, as well as a new Dental Training School.  At the time of our visit the building was scheduled to complete at the end of the month, ahead of programme.

The visit started with a short presentation by David Perkin, Director of AWW, who outlined the challenges faced by the team, including working within an inflexible site masterplan, no end user for the hospital and change in construction methodology from modular to traditional when the design was already at an advanced stage, and explained the philosophy of the design.

The hospital is entered from a large piazza shared with the new leisure centre, under a soaring 3 storey high canopy flanked by feature lighting, leading to an airy atrium reception area.  Coloured panels in the flooring direct visitors to their destinations from the central reception desk.

The architects have made good use of the panoramic views across open ground to Bristol by locating the inpatient accommodation on the upper levels along the North East side of the building.   The day theatres and pre-op areas also have large windows with good views, which should to make surgery a pleasurable experience!

Each ward of 30 beds has 4 4-bed bays, rather than the higher proportion of single rooms more common now.  An indication of the length of time the project was in development.  An interesting feature of the multi-bed bays is the access to shower and wc, shared by adjoining rooms and accessed by an interconnecting lobby.  A solution which seems to present accessibility concerns due to the number of doors to be negotiated.

The elevational language is reminiscent of Bristol’s Victorian terraces, with a subtle gradation from dark to light grey along the length helping to reduce the overall mass of the building.

The building adopts a range of environmental design features and is predicted to consume 27.6 GJ/100m3/annum, 30% less energy than the NHS best practice benchmark.  Photovoltaic cells will supply energy to power the feature lighting around the main entrance and a mini CHP Plant will minimise energy wastage.

All in all, an impressive building which will no doubt support the regeneration of this deprived area of Bristol.

Mary Whittington