Sean Woodhead, associate architect at BDP, looks at how the design of Heatherwood Hospital in Berkshire has helped support positive outcomes at this specialist, planned care facility.
Sean Woodhead, associate architect at global multidisciplinary design practice, BDP, looks at how the design of Heatherwood Hospital in Berkshire – which opened just under two years ago – has helped support positive outcomes at this specialist, planned care facility. He suggests that as a dedicated planned care centre, Heatherwood ‘undoubtedly represents a significant component of future healthcare provision’
It’s now just under two years since Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust’s new centre of excellence for non-emergency care, Heatherwood Hospital, opened in Ascot. The new hospital has reduced waiting times for patients needing knee and hip replacements, with more than 1000 joint replacements performed in the first 10 months after opening – up 20% on the number of procedures carried out preCOVID. As a specialist planned care facility, Heatherwood has been able to perform surgery six days a week – with four out of its six state-of-the-art theatres dedicated to orthopaedic procedures.
The hospital performed around 1,300 procedures a month in its first year, and successfully reduced the length of time patients stay in hospital, with 40% of patients safely discharged within 24 hours. While historically, patients who underwent knee or hip joint replacement surgery would spend an average of three to four days in hospital to recover, at Heatherwood many patients have been able to go home on the same day as surgery. The average length of stay for hip and knee replacement has now been reduced to just 2.5 days, and waiting times for cataract surgery have been significantly reduced – to 2-4 weeks. This represents some encouraging initial data, and offers a good opportunity to pause and reflect on how the design of the hospital helped support these positive outcomes.
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