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HEALTH ESTATE STRATEGY


EMMA BOLTON – AREA DIRECTOR (LEEDS AND NORTH EAST) COMMUNITY VENTURES (MANAGEMENT) LTD, UK LOUISE ENGLISH – CAPITAL PLANNING AND PROPERTY MANAGER, NORTH TEES AND HARTLEPOOL SOLUTIONS LTD, UK


Impact of the pandemic on healthcare buildings


Emma Bolton and Louise English consider how the physical healthcare environment can continue to provide a safe, fit-for-purpose setting for high quality care as services start to be recommissioned, and planned care recommences, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The authors also consider whether the COVID-19 pandemic might permanently change how existing healthcare estates are utilised, and the potential impact on future health estate strategies and developments.


The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally impacted the healthcare estate sector, changing the way that buildings are utilised, and necessitating a change in approach to what has traditionally been a face-to-face service delivery model. While some sectors are giving consideration to restoring their standard workforce practices, or adapting the workplace to minimise the risk of infection, caring for patients with COVID-19 will become part of ‘business as usual’ for healthcare providers for the foreseeable future, and, as such, the built


environment that they operate in needs to adapt, both now and in the future, in order to continue to effectively and safely support the provision of healthcare services for all. This article explores how the physical


healthcare environment can continue to protect and meet the needs of its workforce and patients as services start to be recommissioned, and planned care – which was paused as the pandemic took hold – recommences. Additionally, it considers whether the COVID-19 pandemic might permanently change


Emma Bolton


Emma, Area Director (Leeds and North East), Community Ventures (Management) Ltd., is a chartered surveyor who


started her career as a town planner working in private practice. In 2015, she was awarded a Fellowship by the RICS surveyors in recognition of her professional standing within the industry.


‘Passionate about driving value from estates portfolios’, she has held senior leadership and director roles in local government and the NHS, and has established a solid reputation for her delivery focus in overseeing a variety of significant projects, including large capital schemes, governance reviews, large disposals


portfolios, acquisitions, policy development, landlord and tenant management, and FM contract re-tendering


Louise English


Louise English, Capital Planning and Property manager, North Tees and Hartlepool Solutions Ltd, has established her career in real


estate management exclusively within the NHS, with experience across acute, community, and ambulance trusts, and ‘has a genuine passion for delivering outstanding real estate management that benefits the NHS and its patients’.


With specialist knowledge of NHS organisations and associated public policy, she has extensive knowledge in landlord and tenant matters, and has led in the delivery of strategic programmes of work of multi-organisational importance to maximise value and realise savings. Forward-thinking, with a ‘can-do’ attitude, she embraces change, and


favours new and innovative models of working. She is currently working as Capital Planning & Property manager for NTH Solutions, on behalf of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.


IFHE DIGEST 2021


how existing healthcare estates are utilised, and explores what this might mean for future health estate strategies and developments.


The new normal It is anticipated that a continuation of a number of recently implemented measures, introduced in response to the current pandemic, will become standard practice. These include: l Increased focus on hand hygiene. l Greater utilisation of remote care, including telephone, video, and online consultation and triage.


l Building segregation into ‘hot’ (symptomatic/suspected COVID-19 patients) and ‘cold’ (usual, non- COVID-19 patients).


l Increased levels of physical distancing.


Statutory compliance Regardless of whether healthcare estate space has been fully utilised in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or temporarily closed, it should have continued to have been managed and maintained to ensure statutory compliance during the prescribed lockdown period. The UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has been clear that has been clear that: ‘Despite the demanding circumstances, compliance with occupational health and safety legal requirements remains with duty-holders, and HSE will continue its regulatory oversight of how duty-holders are meeting their responsibilities in the context of the current public health risk and based on our available regulatory capacity.’1


Duty to protect All employers are required by law to protect employees and others from harm under the Health and Safety at Work


21


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