Value in the vision of health architecture

Paul Wainwright, a founding director of Leeds-based QAD Architects, delivered a keynote speech recently to the King’s Fund in London outlining the need for flexibility within health architecture in order to deliver both longevity and value for money.

The King’s Fund is an independent charity that works to improve health and health care in England. They help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Their vision is that the best possible care is available to all.

Paul commented:

“The importance of creating sustainable and flexible healthcare architecture that delivers longevity, scalability and value cannot be underestimated.”

“We regularly see evidence of health centres and hospitals in a state of disarray, more often than not as a result of an unplanned mish mash of extensions and additions that are poorly thought out in both funding and architectural terms.”

“We need to start thinking more intelligently, not just in terms of environmental benefits that should be a given these days, but in order to design healthcare architecture that adapts to change and delivers value and efficiency over the longer term.”

“QAD, like many architectural practices, are not just concerned with our client’s existing needs but how they will evolve over time. We design with scope for expansion and adaption over time and over and above the initial essential requirements of the brief. We aim to make our projects future-proof wherever possible.”

“It’s not just new build projects that this ethos can be applied to, but also the refurbishment and upgrading of existing building stock as exemplified in recent work we carried out for the York-based Priory Medical Group.”

“Priory Medical Group (PMG), founded in 1946, is one of the UK’s largest GP Practices with over 53,000 patients. Operating from nine surgery sites PMG has 13 partners, 14 salaried doctors, and 30 practice nurses, treatment room nurses and health care assistants. A unique feature of the Practice is the on-site team of Health Visitors and Community Nurses dedicated to PMG patients.”

“QAD’s involvement encompassed two projects; Project 1 covered the development and extension of the Priory Medical Centre in Acomb into a Central Teaching Centre and Project 2 involved a reconfiguration of existing space at Lavender Grove Surgery. The combined projects resulted in three additional consulting rooms for GP training and a training suite as well as much enhanced and sensibly located staff facilities, but most importantly a clear and legible patient journey.”

“PMG has a fundamentally different approach and mindset to the majority of healthcare organisations. The increasing adversity faced by practices since the advent of the revised GP contract in 2004 has led to the erosion of income for practices that have not geared themselves up to the necessary increased productivity requirements.”

“PMG took the view to control the controllable and look for opportunities that arise from the various Department of Health legislation.”

“When you’re dealing with the public purse you have to design with long term value in mind and having a clear vision of how a health centre or hospital’s needs will change over time plays a critical role in that.”

“It’s a philosophy that works with architects able to forge relationships with the end client that benefit all parties throughout the lifecycle of a building.”

Founded in 2005, QAD Architects is based at the Greenhouse in South Leeds and focuses primarily on architecture within the health and residential sectors, but also carries out education and commercial work.

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