Two weeks after health secretary Patricia Hewitt announced a £4bn-a-year shift from acute hospitals to healthcare facilities closer to home, CABE has published a design guide for local healthcare buildings.
The design guide presents 15 of the UK's best such buildings, which represent a patient-centred approach linking health and social care. Eger Architects' Grassroots community resource centre in Newham, east London, for instance, combines a nurse-led personal medical service and health centre, a crèche, a healthy-eating cafe and a community hall. Funding was pooled from sources including the NHS Estates, New Deal for Communities and the DTI.
John Sorrell, CABE chairman, said "All these elements come together to allow people to access facilities that will improve their lives."
CABE argues that neighbourhood healthcare buildings should create "a human, inclusive and reassuring environment when people need it most". It is equally important that such buildings be integrated into their surroundings to make them more inviting to local residents.
Other buildings in the design guide include a doctor's surgery, a dentist, a birth centre and a NHS walk-in centre. Ten key elements of good healthcare buildings listed by CABE include natural light and ventilation, a pleasant waiting area, and clear layout and well-managed public open space.