mental health and dementia facilities magazine (mhdf)
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healthcare buildings forum
mental health & dementia
News archive - November 2013
mental health facilities forum review of a highly-successful event
The first-ever mental health facilities forum was praised for providing a much-needed platform on which suppliers and project teams could pool their knowledge of the increasingly-complex mental health marketplace.
Organised by Stable Exhibitions, the event aimed to create a productive networking environment through which delegates could focus on creating long-lasting business relationships through a series of pre-arranged meetings.
It began with a panel discussion chaired by healthcare design & management editor, Jo Makosinski, and featuring mental health nurse and chairman of the Design in Mental Health Network, Joe Forster; Paul Yeomans, senior architect and director at Medical Architecture; Jeff Bartle, head of the built environment at St Andrew’s Healthcare; and Steve Jameson, property services director at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.
They provided an insight into a sector that has witnessed much change, particularly as a result of the NHS reforms and restrictions in capital funding.
Key to this discussion was the difficult balance between creating healing environments for patients with mental health problems and ensuring buildings are safe.
Yeomans said: “Trusts are under a lot of pressure when it comes to risk awareness issues to do with anti-ligature and infection control. We try to create patient environments that are as non-institutional as possible, but that’s difficult to do at the end of the day when you also have to consider risk aversion. It’s a case of pushing it as far as you can.”
Jameson added: “Just because a building has to be ligature free does not mean it has to look boring. We have to be clever in the way we design these facilities and we need to work together to create better buildings.”
The panel also addressed the issue of a lack of standards for mental health environments; a problem they claimed was stifling innovation, both in terms of the design of buildings and the products that go within them.
“A lot of products we use in our buildings at the moment come from just one or two suppliers,” said Bartle. “What we need is a set of standards so that other companies can enter the market and this will increase competition and bring costs down.”
But despite the challenges facing suppliers and project leads, there are increasing opportunities within the healthcare sector and particularly within mental health, the panel said.
Forster said: “There’s very real evidence of a tremendous amount of imagination and innovation within the mental health sector and we have got to harness that and continue to use it to encourage everyone to achieve better outcomes, and we do that by talking more than we already do and events like the mhf have a big part to play in helping us to do that.
“The way forward for people in this room is to understand what is happening locally and then filter this upwards.”
Jameson added: “Forums like this are really important in terms of coming up with products and helping to ensure that discussions go on at the next level.”
Plans are now underway to run a second mental health facilities forum next September. The second healthcare buildings forum will also take place in June 2014.
For more details and to book your place, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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