An HSJ roundtable in association with Dyson considered how NHS buildings and facilities affect healthcare staff and shared ideas for improvement
The impact of healthcare environments on people’s wellbeing has been recognised for many years. However, improvements to healthcare buildings and facilities are often focused on creating surroundings that reduce the stress on patients and support the healing process. As panellists at a recent HSJ roundtable in association with Dyson discussed, the experience of staff can be lower down the list of priorities.
In association with
They shared concerns that NHS staff are working in buildings that lack natural light, ventilation and connection with the outside world. Some staff are routinely exposed to excessive heat and stale air. One panellist revealed that she had visited a rest area for nurses which was windowless and “boiling”.
Healthcare environments designed to improve the experience of staff as well as patients exist, but they are the exception, not the rule. In some ways, modern hospitals are less friendly to staff than their Victorian predecessors: staff facilities are minimal and when more space is needed for clinical services, it can mean even less is left for staff. The panel reported that improvements made during the initial waves of the covid pandemic – such as the creation of wellbeing spaces for staff – are now being clawed back.
What factors determine whether a healthcare environment is good for those working within it? Are there untapped opportunities for improvement? And what are the benefits of making these changes for staff and organisations? The recent HSJ roundtable, in association with Dyson, brought together experts in NHS estates and capital projects, architecture, air quality and staff wellbeing, to discuss these important issues.
- Ken Armstrong, head of research, environmental care, Dyson
- Jaime Bishop, founder and director, Fleet Architects; co-chair, Architects for Health; and architectural lead, Health Spaces Ltd
- Phillip Bishop, director for property (health), Capita
- Alexis Carlyon, deputy head of hospital reconfiguration, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust
- Louise Church, health, safety and wellbeing national officer, Royal College of Nursing
- Martin Duggan, head of capital projects, Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust
- Kevin Fong, consultant anaesthetist, University College London Hospitals FT and chair of public engagement and innovation, University College London
- Susan Grant, principal architect, NHS National Services, Scotland
- Bob Klaber, director of strategy, research and innovation, Imperial College Healthcare Trust
- Laura Lee, chief executive, Maggie’s
- Sarah Morley, co-president, Healthcare People Management Association and executive director of organisational development and workforce, Velindre University Trust
- Leslieann Osborn, former director of wellbeing and engagement, Dartford and Gravesham Trust and strategic health and wellness consultant
- Claire Read, contributor, HSJ (roundtable chair)
- Malcolm White, clean air specialist, Global Action Plan