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News archive - July 2018

Step change needed to futureproof health

UK health trusts need to work alongside design and construction professionals, the Government, and suppliers of products and services to bring about a ‘step change’ and create a healthcare estate that is fit for purpose, futureproof, and enables the more-efficient delivery of modern clinical services.

This was the take-home message from speakers at this year’s healthcare buildings forum, held last week.

Making the case

Organised by healthcare design & management (hdm) sister company, Stable Events; the forum, now in its sixth year, unites NHS trusts and private healthcare providers, architects, contractors and other stakeholders with service and product suppliers.

The two-day event also features three speaker sessions where experts from the healthcare sector provide an insight into the challenges and opportunities within the current marketplace.

This year’s speakers included Simon Corben, director and head of profession for estates and facilities at NHS Improvement; Burkhard Musselmann, managing principle of Stantec; David Philliskirk, commercial director at Essentia; Elizabeth Devas of Macmillan Cancer Support; and Guy Barlow, director of the Manser Practice.

Corben told delegates that Prime Minister, Theresa May’s announcement that the NHS would get around £20billion a year extra funding was expected to have a positive impact on the estate.

Corben said: “We don’t know yet how this money is being divided up, but the biggest issue we have in terms of the estate is money being taken from capital budgets to shore up the frontline.

“We need to make the case for estates moving forward and we need to ringfence any money that comes our way.”

He added: “The traditional way of treating patients is totally out of line with modern needs and our estates need to develop and change to address this.

“We know we have 50 or 60 hospitals that are well beyond their shelf life and which could deliver better outcomes for patients if they had better facilities.”

Planning for the future

Every trust in the country is currently putting the finishing touches to its Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), a local blueprint for the more-efficient delivery of health and care services.

These, Corben said, should pinpoint where services can be taken out of the acute hospital environment and delivered in community-based settings. This information will then fuel the need for new or updated infrastructure.

He said: “Through these STPs we will know how many people there will be, their likely age profile, the impact on specific clinical services, and how much treating these people will cost. With this data at our disposal we can draw activity away from hospitals and create facilities that are more aligned with modern needs and the needs of tomorrow.”

The wealth of data held within the new STPs, which are due to be submitted to the Government next month, also further supports the adoption of standardisation across healthcare construction and estates and facilities management, the speakers said.

Corben told delegates: “We are looking to create a standard set of requirements - five or six different models that can be rolled out at scale.

“We aim to start standardising some of the building fabric materials and this, in turn, will help to speed up the construction process and create a pipeline.”

The standardisation agenda was also the subject of a talk by Martha McSweeney, design director for Interserve Construction, who is leading the cost reduction programme for the ProCure22 framework.

This work includes the repeatable rooms and standard components initiatives, which enable building design teams to take an off-the-shelf solution, reducing the time taken to deliver new buildings and benefiting trusts through bulk buying privileges.

Showing the way

McSweeney said guidance was continually being updated and new products were being added to the documents regularly.

And suppliers with innovative solutions that could be rolled out at scale were encouraged to get in contact with the P22 principal supply chain partners to get their products added to the list.

Speakers at the event also addressed other pressing issues facing the sector, including carbon and energy reduction efforts, and best practice in the design of modern cancer care facilities.

As well as learning from the speakers, delegates at the forum also took part in a series of meetings, creating long-lasting business relationships between suppliers and those in charge of project procurement and delivery.

And there was a gala dinner, with a focus on marking the NHS’s 70th anniversary.

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