Healthy environments that champion local care

Neil Orpwood, head of Healthcare at architecture, landscape, and interior design practice, HLM, argues that healthcare needs to ‘take a more holistic view, creating healthy environments that champion local community care’.

Since the pandemic the pressure on hospitals has been immense, and this has a put the spotlight firmly on hospital programmes and how they’re being used. Now is the time to look more holistically and create healthy environments that champion local community care, helping to take the pressure off hospitals. By better utilising vacant space in town centres for rehabilitation hubs, and promoting the use of hospitals as a last resort, we can ensure that bed spaces are reserved for those most in need.

Even before the current pandemic, town centres were seeing huge reductions in footfall, with the consequential increase in un-let retail units. As each of the lockdowns over the last two years has taken hold, we’ve seen an increased preference for shopping locally (away from the large supermarkets), and this in turn provides the opportunity for healthcare to come to the high street.

Rather than making a special trip to resolve a health issue, providing GP services, and even specialist clinics, on the high street, could make us all more aware of our health before it becomes a more problematic issue. Beales Department Store in Poole (HEJ - February 2022) is a great example of how well this can work on a large scale, but this could be just as successful in smaller high street units. 

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