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.

BEYOND SCORING: ADVANCING A NEW APPROACH TO THE DESIGN EVALUATION OF NHS BUILDINGS

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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