A&DS responds to ‘Better Health, Better Care’ Consultation

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Architecture and Design Scotland has sent the following letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon.

Dear Cabinet Secretary,

As you will be aware, A&DS has established a partnership with the Health Directorates to raise awareness and understanding of the value of good design in healthcare. We are working with colleagues in health boards throughout Scotland by facilitating the NHSScotland Design Champions’ Network and are engaging in individual projects to provide hands-on support in the delivery of this agenda.

The planning and design of our communities and health facilities will be a critical factor in the delivery of Better Health, Better Care. We therefore welcome the opportunity to respond to the above discussion document. We enclose a copy of the briefing pack issued to Design Champions across NHSScotland in November 2006 which demonstrates, by reference to research and best practice, the issues described below:

Good Design Builds Healthy, Sustainable Communities

One of the foundations of city planning was the drive to promote better health, and we are pleased to observe that planning policy is once again giving greater consideration to quality of life issues in the pursuit of sustainable development. The formation of sustainable healthy communities is integrally linked to the design of people-friendly places – places that have identity, that are safe and accessible and promote community pride and active lifestyles. We would recommend that all organisations with an interest in health promotion, in particular NHSScotland Boards, become involved in local planning processes to better support the development of healthy, sustainable communities.

Good Design Aids Regeneration

The construction of a new or renewed healthcare facility is an important event in the life of any community, and one that offers opportunities beyond simply the provision of healthcare services. Such investments can promote and support the regeneration of an area, increase local pride and alter the perception of a community. The potential of the facility in these terms should be a key consideration in the choice of site and in establishing the vision and aims of the development.

Good Design Adds Value

The design of a healthcare building directly influences the service provided within it. A well designed facility will promote the mental and physical wellbeing of all the building’s users thereby:

  • assisting staff efficiency, motivation and recruitment;
  • reducing stress and recovery times for patients;
  • increasing patients’ willingness to accept treatment and their perception of the quality of care they have received.

As such we would consider that the qualitative aspects of building design that influence these outcomes – such as sense of place, access to external space, views, daylight and personal control – to be essential criteria when considering if a facility is ‘fit-for-purpose’.

We recommend that, when commissioning new buildings or alterations to existing facilities, the development of a ‘long term positive asset’ should be given primary importance throughout procurement processes and that this best-value aim should not be unduly compromised for short term operational expediencies.

We trust that the above comments are helpful. We would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss these matters further as we feel we are uniquely positioned to aid and support the aspirations set out in the consultation document.

Yours faithfully

Gareth Hoskins

Scottish Healthcare Design Champion

Link to Consultation on Scottish Government Website


SERVICE: Health Design Advice

Our Health Design Advice service, delivered with Health Facilities Scotland, helps those who commission new, or substantially redeveloped, facilities.

Case Study: The Shields Centre

This community hub in Pollokshields, Glasgow integrates traditional GP services with local social work services and community initiatives. 

SCIM Design Statements

Description of SCIM Design Statements for NHS Scotland with links to project pages.

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