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News archive - September 2018

A new approach to hospital design

A new approach to hospital design

Wales is leading the way in transforming healthcare delivery in an effort to keep people out of hospital and treat them closer to home.

Architectural practice, BDP, has secured two contracts that reflect a shift away from traditional acute hospital provision.

The £2m Mountain View Centre in Mayhill marks a new model of care.

Being delivered by Swansea Council in partnership with Ashley House and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board; the centre opened recently and is Wales’s first fully-integrated family unit, GP surgery and pharmacy.

Bringing services together under one roof; it features a primary care clinic, pharmacy, a range of children and family services, and a citizens’ advice bureau. It will also be home to a number of community support groups, including Women’s Aid, after-school clubs, and the local food bank.

Innovation

Commenting on the development, Councillor Rob Stewart, Swansea Council leader, said, “Lack of space for expansion, lack of disabled access, and the need for costly repair works were among the problems posed by the former GP surgery and family centre buildings, but this new complex tackles all these problems, as well as providing access to a co-ordinated, integrated and seamless service for families in a modern environment.

“This is a truly-innovative project, bringing services together under one roof for the benefit of thousands of local people in one of Swansea’s most-disadvantaged areas.”

At the other end of the spectrum, BDP has also been working on the £200m Grange University Hospital in Gwent - a new specialist and critical care centre for the region.

Due for completion in 2021, the 55,000sq m development is at the very centre of the country’s radical redesign of health services.

The culmination of the Clinical Futures programme, launched by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), it centralises services at three existing general hospital sites, bringing together clinical decision-makers and specialist equipment to deliver timely care to the most-critically-ill patients.

With more than 400 beds - 85% in single-room accommodation - it will house 40 specialist services and a helicopter pad for patients arriving by air ambulance.

Working with patient groups, staff and other stakeholders; BDP has designed the building to be flexible, adaptable and expandable in line with future health needs.

Flexible and adaptable

And its orientation takes advantage of the surrounding landscape, offering views across the countryside and access to therapeutic outdoor spaces.

Speaking to hdm, BDP’s architect director, Nick Fairham, explains: “This is a very-new kind of hospital development. There are no outpatient facilities there at all and it is intended to be relatively short-stay, so once patients have been made stable, they will move into a more-community-based setting.

“The building has been designed to take advantage of the latest technologies, such as mobile working and robotics, and we have taken things like risers and IT support, which usually restrict how internal space can be divided up within a building, and have put them into a service spine around the edge of the building. All the lifts are also around the edge and this means the main floorspace is highly flexible and adaptable.”

The building was designed to BIM Level 2 standard and a large proportion of the construction work is taking place offsite - reducing the overall timescale by around 20%.

The Mountain View Centre was also designed to enable changes to be made in the future.

Fairham said: “Lots of people engaged with us over the design of the building. We looked at where the overlaps were and how the building could be designed to meet the needs of various users.

“It is built to be flexible and uses standard room designs and standard components.

“It wasn’t about looking at what was already there and replicating that, but about asking how people work now and what they want to achieve in the future.

“This design was about doing things in a different way to how we always have.”

Setting a benchmark

The largely-single-storey building is expected to set a benchmark for the future delivery of primary and community care services moving forward.

Fairham said: “The Welsh Government has close dialogue with the health boards and they are working to make sure that health and care developments are the right size and in the right location.

“Flexible buildings like the Mountain View Centre and Grange University Hospital are great examples of this forward-thinking approach.”

The hospital is being built by Laing O’Rourke.

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