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Revealed: New designs transform patients’ privacy and dignity in NHS hospitals

Revealed: New designs transform patients’ privacy and dignity in NHS hospitals

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 23 March 2010

Revolutionary ‘bed pods’ and screening systems, modular toilets and washrooms and a redesigned patient gown are just some design prototypes to improve patient privacy and dignity unveiled by Health Minister Ann Keen at the Design Council today.

The groundbreaking designs are the culmination of ‘Design for Patient Dignity’, a programme from the Department of Health and Design Council, which has brought together seven teams of leading UK designers and manufacturers with frontline healthcare staff to help solve privacy and dignity issues for patients.

The design concepts and prototypes include:

- Universal Patient Gown – which features a dignified design, is warmer and more comfortable
- BedPod – which creates a private, patient-controlled bed environment
- Capsule Washroom – to rapidly refit wards to create single sex toilet and washing facilities
- Reclining Day Chair – a unique hybrid between a wheelchair and a bed which provides greater comfort and security for patients being moved around the hospital
- Novel Screening Systems – to separate male and female areas on wards
- Flexible Signage System – to allow staff to designate same-sex areas
The top UK design teams include the renowned fashion designer Ben de Lisi, PearsonLloyd – who have previously developed the Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Super Seats – the RCA and specialist architectural, interiors and other specialist designers.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:

"As a nurse, I know that patients expect and deserve not only high quality, safe and effective care, but a dignified experience when they go into hospital. It is essential that the high standard of work carried out by our skilled NHS staff is not undermined by patients feeling vulnerable and undignified when they receive treatment.

"The Design for Patient Dignity Programme is a groundbreaking initiative. Today, we have seen what can be produced by bringing designers, manufacturers, patients and experts together to help transform the hospital experience for millions.

"I have spent years being embarrassed by asking people to wear revealing patient gowns and I know that patients will feel far more confident with the new design. We want to ensure that patients’ experience of the NHS goes from good to great and the exciting designs unveiled today show patients what they can expect from the NHS of the future."

David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council, said:

"The prototypes launched today provide simple, practical responses to the healthcare issues that we all care about. Design for Patient Dignity demonstrates that when we listen to the public and bring frontline NHS staff together with industry, great innovation and enterprise thrives."

The work followed extensive research into what issues matter most to patients, staff and experts, such as being able to discuss personal details without other patients hearing, being in a single-sex ward or bay, having single-sex toilet and washing facilities, having personal control over their environment, and improving hospital nightwear and gowns.

The teams were appointed following a nationwide search for designers and specialist manufacturers who could together develop designs, as well as create prototypes and put them into full-scale production for introduction to hospitals.

Over sixty design teams applied to the challenge, and were judged by a panel of the UK’s most respected experts in design, patient care, hospital management and nursing. It is hoped the designs will be introduced to hospitals in 2011.

Notes to Editors

1. For further information and interview opportunities, please contact:

Department of Health Press Office on 0207 210 5221

Design Council: Saskia Sissons: 020 7420 5248 or Nigel Campbell 020 7420 5282

2. The full briefs and the designer/manufacturer teams tackling the challenge were:

Design a product or service that effectively separates male and female patients on NHS wards.

Design consultancy: Together Creative Collaboration / Anthony Dickens Studio

Industry Supplier Suck UK Ltd

Design a more dignified toileting and washing experience in hospital

Designer: Azhar Architecture / Slider Studio

Industry Supplier Grant Westfield

Design new ward layouts which can be retrofitted across a range of NHS hospital ward types to help deliver same-sex accommodation.

Designer: Avanti Architects

Industry Supplier Panaloc Worldwide Manufacturing

Design a range of functional patient clothes (which could include daywear, nightwear and footwear) that significantly reduce the risk of physical exposure, cater for differences in patient size, cultural and religious preferences and are appropriate for a range of activities including sleeping, resting journeys to and from the toilet/bathroom and leaving the ward.

Designer: Ben de Lisi

Industry Supplier Silvereed

Design a piece of equipment or service that will provide greater physical and emotional security for patients as they move around and wait in areas of the hospital.

Designer: PearsonLloyd

Industry Supplier Kirton Healthcare

Open brief: Address wider issues of patient dignity and enable NHS Trusts to rethink the way that space is used in wards

Designer: Billings Jackson Design / Nightingale Associates

Industry Supplier SAS International

Specialists in healthcare design from the Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre have also been recruited to the programme and are developing their design solutions to the briefs.

3. Design for Patient Dignity is part of a wider programme of work to improve privacy and dignity for patients and patient experience. This includes:

· Dignity in Care Campaign

Sir Michael Parkinson was appointed in May 2008 to promote dignity in care, as part of the Department of Health’s Dignity Campaign. For further information on the Dignity in Care Campaign, see

· BIG – Bright Ideas Grant

The BIG ideas website helped generate and fund ideas to promote dignity in care. People posted their ideas online and bid for up to £10K of the total £50K fund. The online competition for the fund closed on 18 March 2010. Visitors to the BIG website will be able to rate ideas, with the top rated ideas appearing in a leader board on the home page.

4. Design for Patient Dignity is part of the Department of Health’s programme to deliver same-sex accommodation. As Britain’s hospital wards vary enormously in layout, age and construction the teams must come up with solutions that are flexible enough to be implemented whilst being affordable and effective.

5. The project follows the success of ‘Design Bugs Out’, where the Design Council and the Department of Health worked together and in a similar way challenged designers and manufacturers to develop new hospital furniture and equipment that would be easier to clean and encourage improved hygiene - reducing patients’ exposure to healthcare associated infections such as MRSA. The prototypes will be entering hospitals in summer 2010.

6. Innovation and new concepts such as these developed with the Design Council will be showcased at the second Innovation EXPO at the Excel Centre in London on 6-7 October 2010.


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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