Headlines: February 14th, 2006

A campaign is being launched today to show how good quality building design has an impact on local healthcare facilities. CABE – the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment – says the proposals for more treatment centres in the community show a more patient-centred approach with health and social care being closely linked but it says that approach is only rarely reflected in the buildings in which the services are delivered.CABE is calling for the built environment to have a full part in the debate on health and well-being and says that new health centres, polyclinics and redeveloped community hospitals should provide high quality facilities for patients and staff. That, it says, will mean recognising the importance of integrating the planning and development of neighbourhoods with the design of individual buildings. Otherwise, CABE warns, patients and staff will be stuck with buildings that fail to meet the new model of provision.

To begin the campaign CABE has published “Designed with care: Design and neighbourhood healthcare buildings,” which looks at 15 of the best neighbourhood healthcare buildings. The report says the buildings all include high quality facilities, reduce stress and meet the needs of patients and staff and they all go beyond providing a place for the delivery of care and create human, inclusive and reassuring environments.

CABE wants to see the appointment of Design Champions in every local authority, health authority and trust, as well as encouraging strong leadership from those procuring these new buildings. The campaign will include the first built environment Health Week in May. It will be aimed at GPs, health managers and the commissioners of healthcare buildings. There will also be a series of practical workshops in seven locations across the country to examine neighbourhood healthcare. CABE is also to begin research into the relationship between the quality of public parks and levels of physical activity.

Today’s report features a number of buildings including The Advance Dental Clinic in Chelmsford, the Brent Birth Centre, the Luton Walk-in-Centre, where 4,000 people are being treated every month, Maggie’s Centre in Inverness and the Small Heath Healthcare Centre in Birmingham, which brings together a health centre, GPs surgeries and a community mental health facility.