Next gen healthcare: sustainable through design

Along with much of the built environment, the UK’s National Health Service estate is facing the need to accommodate rapid change, architect and healthcare expert Dale Sinclair sets out some suggested steps towards future fitness.

Good design in its many guises, from care homes to flexible wards and clinical areas, will become the backbone of a redefined and proactive National Health Service (NHS) infrastructure in the UK. This will deliver a new more sustainable NHS estate with technological innovation at its heart.  A sustainable NHS that may, once again,be the envy of the world.

In commissioning new healthcare buildings the following four steps will help anticipate and meet impending challenges and start a dialogue around the diverse buildings and infrastructure that will be future fit.

Four steps to being fit for the future:

1 Consider how smart sensors and related technologies can transform the end to end diagnostic landscape including how changing demographics will place new and unforeseen demands on asset requirements

2 In framing new trust-wide models of care, consider building infrastructure more holistically including an examination of the technology and ways of working that will transform patient outcomes, reduce asset requirements and improve quality of life for staff

3 Look into the future and determine the trends and technologies that will change asset requirements considering more flexible estates where building use can change over time creating more resilient estates

4 Consider ways to make internal spaces flexible and adaptive allowing new equipment or ways of working to be integrated more efficiently and effectively as they become available

For a vison of the future, AECOM architect and healthcare expert, Dale Sinclair, completed a paper that he presented at European Healthcare Design 2017 in London. The paper includes a story based sometime in the future – a story that may seem surreal to some in parts. Yet every strand of the story is based on technologies that exist today. The future is now and NHS assets and estates strategies need to be shaped accordingly through collaborative and strategic long-term thinking.

Click here to download FIT FOR THE FUTURE.

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