Susan Francis 1952 – 2017
Sue Francis was a determined pioneer whose achievements as a woman, an architect, an educator, a writer and a strategist are woven into many lives. Sue was an amazing person to work with, always generous with her knowledge and expertise while sensitive, clear and very organised. She drew on a multitude of skills and cultures, which allowed her to work across disciplines very successfully.
She also had a rich personal hinterland and many at her funeral were surprised and gladdened to hear of an interest or a skill of which we knew little. Sue designed her own clothes. She designed and built her house in Shepherdess Walk, London, along with friends who became family, raising their children together under one roof. She also designed her singular career path and guided those of many others.
History will judge Sue kindly because she was right about so many of the big issues in healthcare strategy and design. The book – she co-wrote in 2000 for the Nuffield Trust – Building a 2020 Vision: future health care environments – set out a 20-year development strategy for the NHS, a design primer and an approach that grounded these in the context of broader social and public health structures. It identified and addressed virtually every element that forms the current debate about healthcare provision and reform. Had politicians and strategists followed her precepts, the country would be in much better health. Continue reading