VIDEO | Making the case for innovation in healthcare estates

Is the NHS estate being used in a way that maximises its potential? That was the key question behind this discussion hosted by The Manser Practice.

‘The business case for innovation and healthcare estates’ roundtable was a chance to explore the future of NHS sites beyond merely holding medical facilities. They present opportunities for patient hotels, schools and laboratories. It was a chance to think outside the box to deliver solutions that can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these estates.

The participants were:

  • Jonathan Manser, chief executive officer, The Manser Practice
  • Guy Barlow, managing director and healthcare lead, The Manser Practice
  • Michelle Humphreys, director of strategic projects, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Conor Ellis, head of health planning and strategy, Archus
  • Leon Guyett, development director, Muse Developments

The discussion was chaired by Julia Hatmaker, deputy editor of Place North West.

The Manser Practice is an award-winning architecture and interior design studio with more than 55 years’ experience in delivering private, commercial and public projects: including hotels, hospitals, offices, residences and government buildings. Current projects include the Isle of Man Ferry Terminal at Liverpool Waters, work with the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and a large mixed-use development in Gibraltar.

Talking points from the roundtable

Guy Barlow: “The Kings Fund had quite an interesting bit of analysis that at the end of 2020 there was £9bn worth of backlog maintenance alone. That’s even before any new development or reorganising any of these estates.”

Michelle Humphreys: “Traditionally, perhaps, NHS estates have been seen as a bit of an island… A hospital’s not just somewhere you should come when you are poorly. But, actually, what else can we do as anchor organisations in a community to add value and reach out to the community?”

Conor Ellis: “If we look across a lot of hospitals, somewhere between 30% and 35% of the space is for admin… if we can show them that we can build high-quality office-type elements, either or on the edge of sites or, indeed, in some cases off site, then we can, again, slim down the amount of space on hospitals – which makes it easier to redevelop and makes it easier to release space.”

Jonathan Manser: “We’ve on a number of occasions looked at healthcare estates and found there’s a lot of spare land. There’s land that could be utilised not just for healthcare but for peripheral, linked, issues such as healthcare hotels, training centres, social care centres and so on. And in that process… creating some kind of healthcare village or hub for the community.”

Leon Guyett: “It’s about making sure you’ve got a masterplan, that you’re looking at this in a holistic way. That you’re looking at assets to see which can be reused. Is it cheaper to refurbish them? Do we need to knock it down? Do we need a new building? What is that new building? Some of these estates are so big that they could almost become their own 15-minute town.”

The Manser Practice

Video by David Booth |

Your Comments

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I myself have tried to push for more patient-hotels in the UK in particular. I find is completely illogical that the NHS is being operated as a cost only institution. $9billion backlog is completely and utterly pathetic, yet there is not real NHS / Government strategy to reduce cost and save money with Real Estate being a primary expense. In the meanwhile the need for accomodation within the NHS spills over into the Social Care and Local Authorities too into Aged-care. The model which the Manser Practice has picked-up on previously with the Danish Patient Hotel model should be pushed here in the UK, it is just very sad.

By J Kim

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