Better integration of health and social care a priority

Stuart Douglas, Director of Specialist Estates Services, part of NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, discusses issues facing Welsh healthcare estate management and engineering personnel.

Stuart Douglas became Director of Specialist Estates Services (SES), part of NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP), just over a year ago, having been Deputy Director since August 2022. HEJ editor, Jonathan Baillie, recently met up with him by ‘Teams’ to find out more about his career, and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the healthcare estate management and healthcare engineering community across the Principality, and his thoughts on future challenges and opportunities for the sector in Wales

Beginning an interesting discussion, Stuart Douglas explained that he took over as Director, NWSSP SES on 1 March 2023, following Neil Davies’s retirement. He said: “Neil was a very-well known and highly respected leader of NWSSP SES. He was also six feet nine tall, so I knew I had some big boots to fill – literally and metaphorically – when I took up the job.

A quantity surveyor by background, Stuart Douglas explained that in the mid-1980s he worked in construction consultancy roles in the retail sector. However, when this work contracted later that decade, his focus shifted to work in the public services arena. He said: “I became especially fascinated with development on hospital sites, and was also keen to broaden my project management experience. I had previously worked in a multidisciplinary design practice, and later at health focused-practices, where I developed my love of working in healthcare.” As his project management skills burgeoned, he increasingly found himself talking to heads of departments and disciplines, discovering how they worked, and helping them plan new or rationalised facilities. He said: “I absolutely loved it; I was effectively being paid to learn. I then became more involved in developing wider strategic plans.” 

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