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Designing and maintaining healthcare facilities that put patients first

Posted in: Property Services

At TPG, we cover a wide range of sectors and industries, providing services that cover the refurbishment of buildings, the maintenance of properties and their continued compliance.

Since we recently looked at Facilities Management for Schools, Colleges and Academies, we thought we’d take a look at another area that we often work with; the healthcare sector.

Practical help for healthcare professionals

The Department of Health published a series of health building notes designed to give best practice guidance on the design and planning of new healthcare buildings and on the adaptation or extension of existing facilities.

Using the first of these documents, Designing health and community care buildings (HBN 00-01), we’ll take a look at what providers of health and social care should take into consideration.

Busy hospital reception area with doctors and nurses

Relevant regulations

As well as the regulations that any building must meet, buildings in the healthcare sector must also meet the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) 2010, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) standards and meet the pledges of the NHS Constitution.

This means that all premises must be safely and suitably designed, laid out, maintained and operated, with a focus on cleanliness and infection control.

Meticulous planning

The planning process for a healthcare organisation will cover initial strategic planning, a master plan for the project and the development control plan (DCP).

This planning process will need to address the needs and desires of the patients, staff, managers and the local community.

Everything from surrounding land and adjacent properties to public access, security, room design, signage, furniture and equipment will need to be taken into account.

Illustration of hospital with ambulance

Design brief

One of the most important parts of the process, it’s vital that the design brief reflects the total lifespan of the project.

This should reflect the clinical needs of the space, meet hospital and departmental policies, and detail any technical requirements.

The main components of the design brief should include:


  • Use
  • Access
  • Space


  • Character and Innovation
  • Form and Materials
  • Patient Environment
  • Urban and Social Integration

Build Quality

  • Performance
  • Engineering
  • Construction

Evidence-based design

A project team involved in the refurbishment of a healthcare environment should be aware of the growing body of research about the positive impact that good design can have on patient care and recovery.

Doctor holding hands with patient and stethoscope in foreground

Research by the University of Sheffield found that, rather than beginning with the function of a room, it’s more beneficial to concentrate on the needs and activities of all the patients and staff that will be using it.

This could be in relation to any number of uses, from reception and waiting areas, consultation and treatment rooms, social spaces or counselling areas.

“Healthcare facilities should provide a therapeutic environment in which the overall design of the building contributes to the process of healing.”

Designing health and community care buildings (HBN 00-01)

Putting patients at ease

Each area will require its own specific approach when working on the design brief.

Medical examinations and consultations can be stressful for patients, and the consultation environment can often contribute to stress or anxiety.

Historically, consultation rooms were designed to be stark functional spaces or laid out to the wish of the consultant. Typically, the effect of the consultation environment on the patient was not considered.

Research carried out by the Department of Health found that well-designed consultation rooms can ease anxiety or provide a calming distraction.

Doctor shaking hands with patient in hospital waiting room

The health of a building

Maintaining the positive impact of a healthcare environment can carry on beyond the design stages of a refurbishment or build project.

Working with the right Building Consultancy and Facilities Management Company can ensure that the health of a building is managed correctly.

This could include regular ‘check-ups’ (condition surveys), a programme of planned maintenance, as well as compliance reporting.

Working with the right consultants will mean that any building defects can be diagnosed, managed and remedied quickly and easily with minimum disruption.

At TPG, we’ve used our experience to work on healthcare refurbishment projects from design to completion and helped to improve the healthcare experience for both patients and staff. To find out more, contact our specialist team today.

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