Architects seek better hospital design

The design standard of new hospitals needs to be radically improved, according to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

The organisation teamed up this week with the Royal College of Nursing to launch a campaign calling for improvements in hospital design. The Healthy Hospitals campaign is calling for a step-change in the quality of design on the eve of the announcement of the next batch of hospitals funded by the private finance initiative (PFI).

The design quality of the first generation of new PFI hospitals "appears low", CABE warns. It is concerned that the "emphasis on clinical functionality has been at the expense of the total quality of the healthcare environment".

Around 91 per cent of nurses believe that a well-designed environment is significantly related to patient recovery rates, according to the CABE research. It adds that 87 per cent of nurses say that working in a well-designed hospital would help them to do their job better. But only 44 per cent say that they exert any influence over hospital design.

CABE chief executive Jon Rouse commented: "Investment in design is insignificant relative to the lifetime costs of the building. However, the benefits to patients and staff are immeasurable. CABE research demonstrates how good design can increase staff morale, patient well-being and even reduce the use of painkillers."

- See Editorial, page 11.

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