Denburn Health Centre Replacement

jmarchitects led the design of a new health and care centre for NHS Grampian replacing facilities across three separate sites that are no longer fit for purpose. The new centre forms part of the wider Greenferns masterplan on the edge of the city and will house GP and Social Care facilities.

Date

2021

Client

NHS Grampian

Value

£5m

Forming part of a wider masterplan on the edge of Aberdeen the new Denburn Health and Care Centre was to bring a number of GP and Social Care services together under one roof, replacing facilities across three separate sites which were no longer fit for purpose. Additionally, the building was to provide the first ‘Doctors First’ triage space in the region and acts as an exemplar of how this type of space would be designed, operated, and managed. The ‘Doctors First’ model, which provides triage of all patients by telephone at first contact, requires a different approach to the traditional configuration of GP accommodation with flexibility being at the heart of the design and layout of the accommodation. The challenge was to provide a design which was highly functional and flexible in operational terms while providing an environment to enhance the patient experience and create a new kind of working environment to facilitate the innovative care model.
The design aims to support patient and staff wellbeing through provision of ample natural daylight, fresh air, views to nature and a strong relationship between inside and outside. This is achieved primarily by a large courtyard in the heart of the building. A double height waiting space with views into the landscaped courtyard leads to all clinical spaces with separate consulting and treatment wings along each side of the courtyard. The Triage Hub sits at the opposite end of the courtyard allowing staff to spill out and make the most of this valuable amenity. First floor is given over to private staff areas, including meeting rooms, administration and a south facing terrace for staff rest/welfare. The new health centre is designed to be user friendly, patient orientated, welcoming and extremely simple to navigate. The idea of choreographed patient and staff journeys became one of the generators for the design solution. The simple plan layout “explains itself” by arranging the key spaces in such a way so that they will operate seamlessly between each other and where the patient pathway is extremely clear and filled with natural light and views into the community courtyard space or the landscape beyond of the building.
The central Triage Hub centre is an open plan space with a variety of hot desking arrangements, instead of a traditional segregated office space to enable the ‘Doctors First’ model and flexible working practices. Its position in the building allows for ease of access to all clinical spaces and the connection to the courtyard space aims to enhance the staff experience and promote the idea of well-being in the workplace. Forming part of a master plan the new health and care centre has clear civic links between the proposed new neighbourhood centre and existing schools. Working with Aberdeen City Council, a new civic square for the community is proposed bringing together these key public buildings in the neighbourhood. The simple form of the building is derived from the surrounding rural architecture and gives the building its unique identity and symbolises the aspiration for the building to be distinctive in the local context.

The Challenge

The challenge was to provide a design which was highly functional and flexible in operational terms while providing an environment to enhance the patient experience and create a new kind of working environment to facilitate the innovative ‘Doctors First’ care model.

The Solution

The design philosophy placed emphasis on a sense of community and patient and staff well-being while the clear building arrangement promotes a highly functional and efficient clinical environment. The central courtyard ensures that all spaces have views and fresh air while providing a valuable therapeutic amenity.

The Outcome

Using new approaches to both design and care delivery, the proposed new health and care centre supports a shift to community based care while providing a design which enhances both patient and staff experience in a building which is rooted in its plac​e.

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