“Healthy Settings”…reinvigorating the public health debate

Before we talk about hospitals, we must define their role against a whole range of clinical health and social care setting interventions. The concept of healthy setting is introduced here as a means of defining the most appropriate setting (where hospitals are just one). Healthy settings is a concept that forms a principle driver behind Healthy Infrastructure Continue reading

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Healthy Infrastructure at the 2012 EuHPN workshop in Copenhagen

Healthy Infrastructure researchers presented during the 2012 EuHPN workshop held in Copenhagen from 22 to 24 October on ‘The Future for Strategic Planning of Healthcare Infrastructure’. Comments were made from representatives of ARUP and Sintef (amoung others) on the importance of thinking beyond rooms to building typologies/age profiles and to generalisable care models, these comments were greatfully received and will be developed on over the coming weeks. The presentation is available through the EuHPNwebsite http://www.euhpn.eu/index.php/euhpn/euhpn-workshops/euhpn-2012-workshop.

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Why should Healthy Infrastructure be a think tank?

Healthy Infrastructure is an institute that conducts research with its partners and engages in advocacy in areas such as therapeutic healthcare infrastructure design, evidence-based policy, strategic asset management, economic appraisal, and social return on capital investment. It is funded by the EPSRC through a Loughborough University Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA) and so in the future will derive revenue from consulting, advance product development or related research.

Fundamental Healthy Infrastructure will trigger new ideas, so a think tank is an ideal vehicle. Healthcare is a complex sector, and so Governments, regulators, NHS commissioners/providers and their supply chains must share a common language and vision. A co-production institute (or think tank) such as this could help approach investment across the health system to deliver optimum health gains.

Healthy Infrastructure will apply action research, abductive reasoning and grounded thinking, and so will not just be about coming up with new ideas, but also about transforming them into practice. A think tank can help start this dialogue off, through the establishment of an insightful and engaging question and robust academic evidence-base; then consultation with wider stakeholders will integrate innovation and build judgement around future scenarios.

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PropCo, a new national property company is being set up by Department of Health to take ownership of NHS property, such as primary care centres, clinics, community hospitals and offices, and public shares of assets built under the Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) scheme. PropCo’s objectives would be to Continue reading

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Premises Assurance Model (PAM)

Work is underway to develop a new co-produced Premises Assurance Model that was unveiled at IHEEM last week. This PAM self-assessment will enable NHS Foundation Trusts to deliver greater quality compliance, Trusts to reach Foundation status and independent providers to assure commissioners of their suitability to deliver safe premises.

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Questioning the design evaluation instruments of the UK National Health Service

One of the PhD students associated with our work was recently recognised for his efforts in questioning the ability of the design evaluation instruments used by the National Health Service to expose the consequences of healthcare building design in a meaningful way: one fully describes the consequences to stakeholders.  When presented at the ARCOM international research conference, his work received the RICS Research Award for Best Paper, highlighting the depth of the insights offered.

The abstract is below.  We will update with a copy of the paper itself as soon as it’s publicly available.  Please check back soon.


Abstract: The engagement of project stakeholders in the design evaluation of National Health Service (NHS) buildings is critiqued to evaluate the current effectiveness of NHS policy which prescribes the use of quantitative, positivist survey instruments to capture stakeholder views. An alternative conceptual framework for design evaluation is presented that privileges the practice of design evaluation as the social interaction of project stakeholders. Empirical evidence from two longitudinal case studies of newly-constructed mental health facilities illustrate the success of this innovative approach in improving patient healthcare outcomes and reducing operating costs. It elucidates and enhances both the praxis and practices stimulated by current approaches to design evaluation. It raises important implications for the future development of UK Government policy to substantively improve the design quality of NHS healthcare buildings and, in turn, improve patient healthcare outcomes.

Keywords: Design evaluation, design quality, NHS policy, practice, praxis, social interaction.

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