Hospitals should be 'sheds' says Maude

22 July 2011

Paymaster General and and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude declared that hospitals should look more like sheds if the country was to deal with ever-changing developments in clinical care and technologies.

In his keynote speech last Tuesday at the government's official launch of its construction strategy at the Institute of Civil Engineers, designed to shave 20% of public building costs by 2015, Maude stated that in the field of health building procurement 'we should be building sheds for adaptability, as we are currently building-in obsolescence.'

Maude stated that of the £22BN for construction procurement, £2.2BN is earmarked for health building, but intimated that a sea-change in health procurement thinking might be called for. Building Design magazine reported that Maude felt that buildings should be adaptablefor 10 or 20 years time, when clinical needs change.

'We have to build-in the unpredictable and the unforseeable into hospital design. Maybe by only having a shell and core- maybe even just a core, with a shell that can be reconfigured,' said Maude.

'The minister wasn't saying 'this is the way we are going'; it was more that we want to hear the industry's ideas on this,' Building Design reported a Cabinet Office spokesperson as saying, and added that Nick Shapland of specialist healthcare practice HKS said 'Saying sheds is a bit provocative, but some of the big PFI hospitals built  are not appropriate to the needs of the of the trust anymore. Healthcare delivery is a fast-changing thing and medical technology is smaller and more portable now,' Shapland told Building Design.

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