If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
I’m on holiday with friends and we’re driving through a picturesque little town, all cobbled streets, grey stone gables and slate roofs. One building, though, stands out like the proverbial sore thumb – only picture a thumb where necrotising fasciitis has set in and is tracking rapidly towards the elbow.
‘What would you guess that is?’ asks my friend. She’s local and knows perfectly well, and she winks at me – the party’s only medic – to keep quiet.
‘Toxic waste processing facility?’ says someone.
‘Battery farm?’ someone else suggests.
You’ll have guessed where this is going. Of course, it’s the local hospital. Like so many others, it’s an uncompromising concrete block, looking like something a pathologically unimaginative child might build out of monochrome Lego. Its stark lines are relieved only by an incinerator tower, and its blank greyness only by livid stains of water-damage and mildew.
Why are hospitals often so ugly, and should we care? Surely, when it comes to healthcare, a practical, functional building is worth any amount of aesthetic frills? Maybe so, but all too often these hideous hospitals aren’t even functional.
We’ve all worked in wards which are freezing in winter and stifling in summer, or where rain and condensation puddle at the bottom of ill-fitting windows. And anyway, hospitals are frightening and dismal enough (if you’re the patient) without going out of their way to look like the set of a 1980s horror movie.
The Victorians built handsome mock-gothic castles to house their sick, sometimes complete with turrets. Sadly, their narrow corridors, cavernous ‘Nightingale’ wards and inopportune flights of stairs rendered many of them unusable for modern medical care. More recent buildings remedied these defects, but often at the cost of any consideration for the pleasantness of the environment, or the impression the building might make on an anxious patient approaching its doors.
There is a new generation of hospitals with glass-walled atria, wood panelling and fake-marble floors, but for other reasons I find them no less distressing to look at. These are the fruits of the private finance initiative, a cunning wheeze whereby new hospitals were built with some of the upfront costs met by private corporations, with the NHS undertaking to pay back the money over time – often the next 30 years – together with a hefty profit margin for the company.
These hospitals may not be the eyesores their 1970s counterparts were, but they equally represent bad, short-termist decision making. Sometimes – whether it’s putting up cheap, ugly buildings or falling for too-good-to-be-true financial schemes – the thing that saves money straight away turns out not to be the best idea.
By the Secret Doctor
Read the blog and follow @TheSecretDr on Twitter and on Facebook
I recently revisited the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, a Victorian building. It is astonishingly beautiful.
The Mendip Hospital in Wells opened in 1848 as the Bath and Somerset Pauper Lunatic Asylum. The architect was George Gilbert Scott. It closed in 1991 and was converted into flats and houses
uninspired leadership, and third rate housekeepers in the NHS of today......
Lack of sense of worth and community commitment. There is evidence that a pleasing environment aids recovery .It is also important for morale of patients, visitors and importantly staff. Good quality design is part of caring and should be part of all NHS facilities and not viewed as an indulgent extra.
Even if the entrance looks smart, chances are the elderly are in wards with plain white walls no pictures or tv nor even a clock so they can orientate themselves to the time of day.
New Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary at western end of Dumfries bypass resembles a collection of warehouses. Lovely bright atrium, miles of glass sided corridors and entirely single bedded rooms. Fine if you are feeling really ill, but observation poor. Friend had fall and lay on floor unable to summon help. On other occasion accidentally pulled out drip whilst shaving and again couldn't attract attention. Was anticoagulated and bled profusely but fortunately had presence of mind to apply pressure to stop bleeding . Single rooms can be very isolating and that does not help morale and well-being. "If a patient is fit enough to socialise shouldn't be in hospital"!
Alder Hey Children's in Liverpool is true example of a well designed hospital, in fact designed by children. A pleasing environment does indeed aid recovery and boosts staff morale.
The external appearance is relatively unimportant so long as it is well maintained to make it well proofed against the elements - unlike in this example. It is vital that the inside is fit for purpose:- clean, well maintained, functional, well lit, good lines of site on straight corridors, and compact as possible to allow elderly relatives easy access without exhaustion requiring admission alongside their relatives. I have worked in an array of hospitals around Britain since the 1960's, Victorian, EMS, 1970's flat pack, conversions etc. but don't ever recall anyone patient or staff commenting on the external appearance.
Totaly agree with author. I had to write an essay on this topic and with the help <a href="edubirdie.com/dissertation-writing-services">site EduBirdie</a> I managed to do that with great results!
Totaly agree with author. Actually, I had to write an essay on this topic and with the help of <a href="edubirdie.com/dissertation-writing-services">site EduBirdie</a> I manaaged to do that
Because the budget money is distributed, usually, by healthy people. Those who experience terrible diseases understand that health is the most important thing in life. And here the main sums should go there from the budget. Already then education with his projects, and so on. In one of the headings on the site https://writepro.net/ we will necessarily raise this topic. It's just necessary to discuss.
This issue stems from a wider problem with the decline of modern architecture , modern architects in the 20th/21st century have seemingly forgotten that the buildings that surround us and we work in has a profound impact on our well-being, productivity & pride in our work.
See James Kunstlers short but interesting TED talk which explains it well: www.youtube.com/watch
Function over form should not always dictate architecture!
I made a brill hospital for my action man out of a cornflake box.