A large, eco-friendly new health centre in Wales that has been designed to enhance the patient experience, and which has succeeded in improving attendance rates, has won the Management in Practice Design and Facilities Award 2009.
Cwm Gwyrdd Medical Centre was announced the winner of the national award, sponsored by property development specialists Clark Weightman, on Tuesday (6 October 2009). The award acknowledges the most innovative new build or renovation of a GP surgery.
The new £2.25m health centre, based in the community of Gilfach Goch, is the outcome of a holistic approach to design, with the promotion of patient wellbeing a priority.
The medical centre was officially opened on 12 February 2009 by the Welsh Assembly Health Minister Edwina Hart. It is the first primary healthcare building in Wales to achieve NEAT Excellent Status.
Flexibility of design was a key concept for the £2.25m construction of the Cwm Gwyrdd Medical Centre, with the site allowing for partitions to be removed or added and for further expansion of the building at ground and first-floor level.
Environmental objectives were also high on the practice's agenda – the building's design maximises natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting, and the use of renewable energy reduces reliance on traditional gas and electric requirements.
James Bull (pictured), Practice Manager of Cwm Gwyrdd Medical Centre, who accepted the award, said: "Having worked in an older building for a long time, the chance to work in something so modern and so unique is a massive plus for my job.
"We feel privileged to work in the building, which gives the GPs and staff a proper, modern working environment. But the biggest change is for the patients who have a fantastic new building, of which they can be proud."
Does practice design have a significant role in enhancing patient care? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"It's true that many designers believe they can encourage people to make healthier choices by transforming the physical environment, creating incentives to lose weight or give up smoking, and even rethinking how a receptionist answers the phone. It is hoped that of all of this and more will influence how people behave – with regard to their own health and the services they consume. But will services redesigned around a patient's experience be enough to transform healthcare, and is all of this genuinely about empowering patients to make the right choices, or really about the nanny state making choices for us? Is it the place of designers to implement that agenda?" – Brid Hehir, Camden