Design matters - message received and understood

Primera survey reveals importance of good design in healthcare environments

We’ve heard it before, and it is backed up by scientific evidence, but the design of healthcare environments really does matter, according to new research.

Primera Life, designer and manufacturer of anti-ligature window and door hardware, exhibited at this year’s Healthcare Estates Exhibition, where the company asked delegates to take part in an anonymous survey about the importance of design.

And the results show that more than 90% of respondents rated the importance of colour and design to the wellbeing of service users as seven or above on a scale of 1 to 10. Many participants said it was a particular issue of importance for more-vulnerable patients or those needing longer-term care.

The study also asked if they felt it was important to engage with service users when making key decisions about their surroundings. Only 4% of respondents said it was not important or of only slight importance. Engagement was seen as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important by 80% of those questioned.

Visitors were also asked to highlight areas of wasted expenditure in NHS building design, with heating, lighting and ventilation coming top of the table, with nearly 40% of people feeling this was an issue.

And, when asked whether budgeting issues would ever cause them to compromise on quality, the answer was clear cut: while acknowledging that it is not easy to balance requirements and funding, 73% said they would not compromise.

A spokesman for Primera, a founder member of the Design in Mental Health Network, said: “We are massively encouraged that professionals, buyers, architects and facilities managers, not only realise the importance of design, but are also prepared to ensure that good-quality design ends up in the patient environment.”

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