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esigning buildings for the healthcare sector has to be one of the most demanding and yet satisfying disciplines for an architect to tackle. With the often conflicting demands of cash- strapped NHS management, skewed local politics and clinical specialties to balance, it’s no wonder that buildings for healthcare have often tended to appear more functional than caring.


However over the past couple of decades healthcare architects have continued to develop their particular and refined set of specialist skills to provide more and more patient-focused, as well as clinically efficient facilities. Just because a building needs to house hi-tech (and often heavy-duty) equipment, it doesn’t mean that it can’t offer people-centred, and even uplifting characteristics, with copious natural light and health-supporting elements.

Funding for specialties such as cancer care has seen a boost in recent years, acknowledging both the challenges facing the UK population generally, and its ageing tendencies. No doubt this has helped projects such as the NGS Macmillan cancer care unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital get off the ground, which received £2.5m of its £10m build cost through fundraising by Macmillan, including £1.5m from the National Garden Scheme whose name is also over the door.

The core issue is that as the NHS becomes ever more strapped for cash (and it is estimated to have a £12bn funding gap between now and 2020), we are likely see more innovative partnerships of this type entered into, in order to initiate future projects. Hikes in income tax are vote-losers (as, often, are building large NHS centres of excellence which mean closing local, less-efficient hospitals), so funding has to be sought where it can be found.

That said, some of the results of such partnerships can include highly tailored design which puts patients first, and the new NGS Macmillan unit in Chesterfield, which is presented on page 14, is a good example, helping to alleviate the challenges of chemotherapy.

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We also report in this special supplement on an interesting open-book contract approach which has delivered a facility sensitive to increased numbers of residents with dementia in Ashford.

We hope you enjoy the read, and this snapshot of good practice in design and product specification for the healthcare sector.

James Parker Editor


04.18 adf ON THE COVER...

The new NGS Macmillan unit at Chesterfield Hospital combines cutting-edge cancer care with a sensitively- designed environment for patients. For the full report on this project, go to page 15

Cover Image © Mark Hadden



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