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‘Next generation’ health centre opens in East London

Goodman’s Fields, a new-build health and wellbeing centre in East London, designed and delivered by AECOM, has officially opened, providing a ‘next generation’ primary care facility.

The new centre will deliver an extended range of primary care services to the patients of Tower Hamlets, providing extra capacity and flexibility to meet increasing demand, with an expected increase of 7,500 people in the current catchment area by 2033. It brings together two existing practices previously delivering patient care across four sites in Whitechapel and Shadwell.

AECOM was appointed by NHS Property Services, on behalf of NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to design the fit-out, delivering architectural, lead and principal design, and interior design services, in close collaboration with NHS partners, the practice teams, and patient representatives. Under its multidisciplinary contract, AECOM also provided MEP engineering, project management, cost management, and contract administration. The project was procured through the NHS Shared Business Services Construction Consultancy Services 2 framework, with the contractor, Borras Construction, procured through the Pagabo framework.

AECOM’s architectural vision was to create a flexible zonal design that can adapt to changing service needs, with a focus on supporting the move towards preventative healthcare. Flexibility and adaptability were central to the design, enabling the facility to perform multiple functions as a GP surgery, a wellbeing and health centre, and a community centre.

Entirely digitally enabled integrated telemedicine areas enable clinicians to consult with patients whether they are receiving care at home remotely, or in person at the facility, enabling rapid consultations from anywhere. On arrival, patients are monitored via integrated triage assessment pods, enabling clinicians to assess early health risk indicators. Engagement was integral to the design approach, with the team working alongside NHS partners, community representatives, the local authority, patients, and the GP practice tenants, ‘to co-create a set of design solutions that respond to their requirements’.

The health centre is on the ground floor of a new residential building within a mixed-use residential and leisure urban quarter. With limited natural light and access points, the reception and waiting areas are in the middle of the building, located around a central courtyard that provides natural light and views out to a landscaped garden.

On arrival patients are welcomed via a double-height space where self-check-in desks enable swift registration, before being guided to triage pods or to designated waiting areas. Wayfinding solutions include clear signage, accent lighting, and simple zoning. Bengali translations feature in the signage to address the high percentage of Bangladeshi patients.

AECOM says ‘special emphasis’ has been given to natural and artificial light, the use of high-quality materials, and good acoustics throughout.

Selina Douglas, managing director, NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Goodman’s Fields is the fruition of many years of partnership working, planning, and investment, into providing the absolute best in healthcare for local people. Our ambition for north-east London is to provide the highest standards of care in high-quality facilities that provide a wide range of services at the heart of the communities we serve. We will continue to work with local partners as we drive up standards and address the health inequalities we face in Tower Hamlets and across north-east London.”

AT Medics’ Dr Saffan Qureshi, Clinical lead GP for the Centre, added: “From a GP perspective, the design of this surgery has three stand-out qualities – the incorporation of digital innovation that enables us to meet the demands of general practice in the 21st century, large rooms to allow a wide range of professionals to work as one multi-disciplinary team, and, of equal importance, the aesthetics. The design team has created a contemporary environment that exudes calm and serenity that supports the mental wellbeing of both staff and patients.”

Jason Pearson, director of Healthcare Architecture at AECOM, said: “Our fit-out for Goodman’s Fields Health Centre was designed with the future in mind. Primary healthcare provision is changing, and the next generation of healthcare facilities need to be entirely flexible to support the future direction of public healthcare. We also wanted our design to quash the perception of hard chairs and bare walls that people associate with visiting the doctor, creating a high-spec, comfortable, and uplifting environment that improves patient experiences and benefits the wellbeing of users.”

 

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