New Policy on Design Quality for NHSScotland released

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The Scottish Government Health Directorates (SGHD) have released a new ‘Policy on Design Quality for NHSScotland’ , which recognises the increasing body of evidence that the principles of good design make a quantifiable positive impact on patients, visitors and staff.

This policy articulates the Scottish Government Health Directorates ambition for NHSScotland’s asset base and to embed the need for well-designed, sustainable healthcare environments as an integral part of high quality service delivery. Mike Baxter – Deputy Director, Capital Planning and Asset Management – CEL 19 (2010)

The policy covers the full range of estate considerations, from the infrastructure changes needed to support ‘shifting the balance of care’, through strategic asset management to procurement; advocating that Health Boards use design as a means to achieving the best value from their developing estate. It describes the support available to Boards from Health Facilities Scotland (HFS) and the enhanced role of Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS) in particular around the new process of assessing design in the business case process.

Following the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement in 2009, A&DS’s healthcare programme has been working with partners at SGHD, HFS and with selected Health Boards to develop a methodology of defining design objectives for projects and valuing these objectives at key decision points, including in the decision to fund the proposed development. The new process, which will be led by HFS, looks to ensure that design considerations are included from the earliest stages of a project, maximizing the benefits achieved through improved preparation and briefing and through the quality and efficiency of spaces and places produced: using public investment to obtain true best value both for the direct users and the surrounding communities. The policy should be read in conjunction with the amendment to Scottish Capital Investment Manual , which describes this process in greater detail.

A&DS’s role in relation to new healthcare developments is embedded in this process, providing advice to decisionmakers at each of the key business case stages. A&DS will, at the initial agreement stage, consider the Board’s ‘Design Statement’ that establishes the design objectives and benchmarks to be realized by the project. At subsequent stages the assessment will consider the potential of the developing proposals to meet the agreed design standards. The report produced can be used by Boards in their Planning Application as evidence of consultation and the opinion given by A&DS.

good design need not cost more and the difference between achieving good or poor quality outcomes is more often the result of having the right knowledge or advice, understanding, care and commitment. Good Design is the intelligent application of a scarce resource

Scottish Government Health Directorates ‘Policy on Design Quality for NHSScotland’

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