Designing better mental healthcare facilities


First female winner of regional construction study award

Claire Ryan, an Estates officer at mental health / disability services provider, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has become the first female winner of a regional award which recognises her commitment to the study of construction.

A successful Digital Week with an international flavour

With the 2020 Design in Mental Health Conference, Exhibition and Dinner postponed to November due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Design in Mental Health Network held a Digital Week from 8-12 June, comprising webinars presented by key sector experts.

Poole eating disorders unit gets planning permission

A new Eating Disorders Unit in Poole providing specialist eating disorders care to the population of Dorset and the South West of England has gained planning consent.

‘Multi-technology’ IoT location tracking platform

RFiD Discovery, part of Paragon ID, a provider of identification solutions, has partnered with geolocation specialist, Apitrak, to develop a ‘multi-technology’ cloud-hosted IoT platform ‘for the tracking of assets, inventory, and people’.

Product testing guidance will fill a key ‘gap’

With the safety of service-users in mental health inpatient units critical, and often affected by the products selected for the built environment, coupled with what it perceives as a lack, to date, of clear guidance on product selection, ‘or the ability to assess multiple options to improve such spaces’, the Design in Mental Health Network (DiMHN) has ‘partnered’ with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to launch a new guidance document, Informed Choices: Testing Guidance for Products in Mental Health Facilities.

Sliding windows give ‘stunning results’ at new £13. 5 m Maidstone facility

Leading secure window provider for medical establishments, Crittall-Fendor, says it worked closely with the architects throughout the design phase of Cygnet Healthcare’s Cygnet Hospital Maidstone, supplying both its CleanVent and AlphaLine sliding windows for the £13.5 m facility. The low-level secure and rehabilitation unit, comprising four wards for up to 65 male and female patients, was designed by designed by Tangram Architects, a London-based practice specialising in facilities for medical and police services.

Can Far Infrared heating combat fight COVID-19?

Technology company, IOBAC, is calling for help to explore the potential for Far Infrared (FIR) heating to help prevent and fight RNA viruses, including coronavirus (COVID-19), following its recent investigation into the availability of scientific studies on ‘the proven health benefits’ of FIR.

Testing guidance should enable informed buying choice

The Design in Mental Health Network (DiMHN) and the BRE say that, following the BRE Board’s detailed scrutiny of the two organisations’ jointly-produced draft guidance on performance testing of products used in mental healthcare settings, they aim to publish the final guidance document, Informed Choices. Testing Guidance for Products in Mental Health Facilities, by the end of this month (April 2020).

Mental health support during the coronavirus outbreak

In recognition of what it dubs ‘the unprecedented challenges which the COVID-19 outbreak and extended periods of self-isolation can pose’, Public Health England has published new online guidance setting out principles to follow to help people manage their mental health ‘during this difficult time’. Key suggestions include: Maintaining contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media; Keeping a regular routine and sleeping pattern; Focusing on a hobby or learning something new.

Planning permission granted for new Wallgate factory

Planning permission has been granted by Wiltshire Council for washroom and sanitaryware product specialist, Wallgate’s new factory premises, to be built on a greenfield site at High Post, near Salisbury. Building work is planned to start ‘ahead of this autumn’, and the new factory should be operational by late 2021.

Researching dementia design in Japan

Lesley Palmer, the Chief Architect at the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling, has received a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship which she will use her Fellowship to research dementia design and urbanisation in Japan, and how it compares to the UK. During her research, she will investigate how the urban environment of Fukuoka – Japan's fastest growing city – supports healthy cognitive ageing. After identifying good practice examples and case studies, she will share her findings through the DSDC’s extensive network of partner organisations in the UK, Japan, and around the globe.

Contractor appointed to build new Highgate inpatient facility

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I) has appointed BAM Construction to build its new £70 m mental health inpatient facility in Highgate. Construction of the new building, opposite the Trust’s existing Highgate Mental Health Centre, is due to begin later this year, following planning permission approval, and is expected to be completed in summer 2022.

Chancellor announces over £6 bn in new funding ‘to support the NHS’

Measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak (pictured), in the 2020 Budget on 12 March included over £6 billion in new funding to support the NHS, including to create 50 million more GP surgery appointments, to ensure that there are 50,000 more nurses, and to ‘fund wider commitments’ on hospital car parking and support for people with learning disabilities and autism The Chancellor said the NHS Settlement provided ‘the largest cash increase in public services since the Second World War – an additional £33.9 bn per year by 2024’, while the Budget also committed an investment of over £100 million in 2020-21 ‘to make progress on the 40 new hospital projects announced as part of the Health Infrastructure Plan’, and provided £683 m in additional funding to the Department of Health and Social Care ‘to protect the level of NHS operational capital investment’

A global look at engineering skills, capabilities, and weaknesses

As the pace of technological change accelerates, no nation can afford to ease up on their efforts to conduct engineering in a safe and innovative way, according to research commissioned by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation as part of Engineering X – a new international collaboration that ‘brings together some of the world’s leading problem-solvers to address the great challenges of our age’. The report’s publication – on 4 March – coincided with the first UN World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. Prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Global Engineering Capability Review measures the abilities of 99 countries to conduct key engineering activities ‘in a safe and innovative way’. It focuses on six measures of engineering capability around the world: the strength and sophistication of the country’s engineering industry; the availability and diversity of its engineering labour force; its knowledge base; built and digital infrastructure, and safety standards.

Call to ‘maximise digital outcomes’

A new report from the Good Governance Institute (GGI) and Legrand Assisted Living and Healthcare advocates ‘immediate action to embrace digital solutions’, building on a programme of research and engagement with senior leaders from the health, care, and housing sectors. Legrand Assisted Living said: “There is growing recognition that the public sector improvements – including in healthcare – we require cannot be delivered simply by providing services in the same way, or even by becoming more efficient. New systems approaches are needed to achieve improved health and wellbeing outcomes across the UK.”

Plans for new ‘centre of excellence’ for children and young people’s health in south London

Plans for ‘a ground-breaking’ new £65 m centre for children and young people’s mental health in south London’s have recently been launched. The Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People will bring together, under one roof, ‘the world’s leading experts in clinical care and research’ from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).

Joint Research and Innovation Centre launched by LSBU and BSRIA

London South Bank University (LSBU) and the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) have launched a new joint research and innovation centre. The two organisations say the BSRIA-LSBU Innovation Centre (‘BLIC’) will support building services in the construction sector by promoting collaborative research between LSBU’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment (BEA) and ‘world-renowned’ BSRIA. LSBU is one of the leading UK universities educating and training building services engineers for employment in the construction sector. The University’s graduates account for around 70 per cent of building services engineers employed in the UK construction sector every year. BSRIA, meanwhile, is distinctive for its global reach and expertise in the built environment sector; it works in 93 countries and says that for 65 years it has been ‘at the forefront of the energy efficiency and carbon reduction agenda’.

New ‘Expert Panel’ and ‘grassroots campaign’ launched to help NHS reach ‘net zero’

NHS CEO, Sir Simon Stevens (pictured), has announced that the NHS and its staff will ‘step up action to tackle the climate health emergency’ via three key measures – the first a new ‘expert panel’ to “chart a practical route map this year to enable the NHS to get to ‘net zero’”, the second a proposed new NHS Standard Contract calling on hospitals to reduce carbon from buildings and estates, switch to ‘less polluting anaesthetic gases and better asthma inhalers’, and encourage more active travel for staff, and the third a ‘grassroots campaign’ to encourage staff and hospitals ‘to cut their impact on people’s health and the environment’.

Former footballers to be tested for early signs of dementia

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are ‘crowd-funding’ a new project to test former professional football players for early signs of dementia.

Ibstock urges construction industry to ‘realise apprenticeships’ value’

A new report published by skills and education ‘think tank’, EDSK, has found that ‘millions of pounds’ of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy are being spent on so-called ‘fake apprenticeship schemes’, which, in reality, are ‘relabelled degrees or training courses for existing staff’.

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