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ProCure22: Why we need a new frame of mind

The ProCure framework has transformed the way our public healthcare facilities are built and refurbished.

Prior to its launch, just 28 per cent of public sector construction projects were completed on time and only 29 per cent on budget.

By encouraging standardised design solutions and closer relationships between commissioners and suppliers, ProCure has both streamlined the construction procurement process and delivered value for money.

“The advent of the new framework presents an opportunity to broaden our ambition”

These are laudable achievements and the latest iteration of the framework, ProCure22, with its six appointed contractors announced last week, will rightly aim to continue the successes of recent years.

However, while the focus on driving efficiencies should not be diminished, the advent of the new framework presents an opportunity to broaden our ambition in terms of what ProCure22 can achieve.

Most importantly, the construction and design industry need to use the collaborative approach enshrined within previous ProCure frameworks to drive a focus on patient comfort and wellbeing.

Specifying for wellbeing

We have a better understanding now of how the built environment affects our lives, from the employee in the workplace to residents in their homes.

Designers, specifiers and contractors are increasingly focused on creating buildings that put the needs and wellbeing of their users at the fore. Driving the implementation of these ideas in the healthcare sector will bring far-reaching benefits.

By designing buildings that actively support the healing process and the work of healthcare staff, we will be able to deliver better outcomes for patients – the ultimate goal of any medical institution.

Once again, the procurement process will have a significant role to play.

“We should be looking to tackle the issue of poor acoustic insulation from the very start of the design process”

Getting the specification right for our healthcare facilities has proved vital to delivering efficiencies, but it will also be crucial in the push to realise a more ergonomic environment for healthcare professionals that further aids the recovery process. 

Of course, we will need to prioritise our efforts, concentrating on those areas that deliver the maximum return on patient wellbeing.

The positive effects of good lighting on human health and mood needs to be one core area of focus. Good acoustic insulation should be another. A study by researchers at Oxford University found that nighttime noise levels in hospitals are often louder than a pneumatic drill.

A number of healthcare institutions are now reassessing working practices to minimise ambient sound levels, but we should also be looking to tackle the issue of poor acoustic insulation from the very start of the design process.

Combining for better environments

Changing the way we design our hospitals and healthcare facilities is not a cure-all solution, but it will support the healthcare sector in its efforts to provide a high standard of care.

“Commissioners and suppliers will need to work together and earlier successes should not be left by the wayside”

A hospital stay can be distressing for any patient, but putting patient comfort and wellbeing at the heart of the specifying process will help to minimise unnecessary stress and anxiety and support recovery.

Commissioners and suppliers will need to work together to achieve these aims and earlier successes should not be left by the wayside. The dialogue between both partners has been invaluable in the drive to make the construction of our healthcare estates more efficient.

It can now help us to deliver the best possible care experience, boosting patient outcomes and creating an improved workplace environment for healthcare professionals in the process.

Alistair Cathcart is a healthcare framework manager at Siniat

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