CABE has published a report attacking the standard of architecture in PFI hospitals and has picked four teams to formulate the principles that should be applied to future schemes.
The commission's comments coincide with the government's announcement that it plans to build 140 hospitals in the next 10 years. The upgraded design standards are aimed at this coming generation of PFI healthcare facilities.

The commission's report, Healthy Hospitals: Radical Improvements in Design Emergency, warns of the impact that bad design has on a patient's prognosis, and hopes that its four teams will establish a corollary relationship between good design and improved outcomes.

The four teams chosen by the commission are FAT with Demos, Jane Darbyshire and David Kendell, McDowel + Benedetti and MUF with Rosetta Life. Together, they have suggested innovations such as "no-waiting rooms", beanbags that bleep when the doctor or nurse is ready to see the patient, and brightly coloured exteriors to create a "warm, clean and welcoming" environment.

CABE, in co-operation with the Royal College of Nursing, wants the public to vote on the four design guidelines.

The report reveals the importance that design holds for medical staff: 87% of nurses saying that working in a well-designed hospital would make them do their job better.

Jon Rouse, the chief executive of CABE, revealed his personal feelings in a column in The Guardian. He singled out the "truly dreadful" Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich, south-east London, to illustrate his case. He said it had "the look of a high-security prison or an out-of-town retail centre", and described the interior as "sprawling … split by long, forbidding corridors".