Our client required an upgrade to their existing birthing centre, driven by the recommendations of ‘Maternity Matters’ (DOH 2007); which advised that the existing accommodation, with no en suite facilities and small side rooms, was inadequate.
Through detailed workshops we identified that the planned new midwifery led services should not feel any different to the consultant led areas. Our client also requested that the environment be as “non clinical” as possible. The entire scheme was designed so that it could be implemented in two phases, around the live existing suite, ensuring the privacy and dignity of current patients was never compromised during the construction process.
The fundamental strategic move was to integrate a new glazed access walkway into an underused existing courtyard adjacent to the birthing centre. This was transformed into a new courtyard garden providing a therapeutic environment where patients, visitors and staff can relax and enjoy nature in fresh air. The garden also allowed access for the central hub or the new unit, containing the reception and nurse base. This welcoming environment continues inside the department which was designed to offer a ‘home from home’ atmosphere, enhancing patient experience through integration of medical access, which is so crucial to the current model of patient care.
Shortlisted, Best Hospital Design, Building Better Healthcare Awards, 2010