Hospitals could soon be equipped with airplane-style pods and remotes for lighting

Premium aircraft-style pods in emergency rooms, inter-ward gardens and remote patient lighting could be part of future hospitals.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid today unveiled five designs for NHS hospitals shortlisted for the £250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize.

Each will now receive £10,000 to further develop their plans and show how they can improve the NHS for patients.

Mr Javid said the winning design – to be selected in the autumn – would ‘inform’ plans for 48 new hospitals under a £3.7bn injection.

NHS waiting lists have risen to record highs after the pandemic disrupted routine care, with entire wards being handed over to Covid patients.

There are currently nearly 5.5 million patients waiting for routine treatment, such as hip replacements and cataract surgery.

Five entries have been shortlisted for the Wolfson Economics Prize. One includes a plan for premium aircraft-style pods for patients with minor ailments in the ER. It suggests that these could triple the capacity in the departments (stock)

It states that the pods must include remote-controlled lighting and cell phone charging points for patients to make A&E a 'less terrifying' experience (stock)

It states that the pods must include remote-controlled lighting and cell phone charging points for patients to make A&E a 'less terrifying' experience (stock)

It states that the pods must include remote-controlled lighting and cell phone charging points for patients to make A&E a ‘less terrifying’ experience (stock)

Another shortlisted plan proposes “green” hospitals. This would mean installing plants on the outside of the buildings and between departments (stock)

And a third draft says hospitals should be built in the shape of a starfish.  Each wing would have a different function, they say (stock)

And a third draft says hospitals should be built in the shape of a starfish.  Each wing would have a different function, they say (stock)

And a third draft says hospitals should be built in the shape of a starfish. Each wing would have a different function, they say (stock)

A proposal, designed by a senior NHS doctor who worked in emergency rooms during the Covid pandemic, would place aircraft-style pods in emergency rooms.

dr. Susan Robinson, an emergency medicine consultant at Cambridge University Hospitals, said the pods would be used for less severe patients.

She claimed they could triple the capacity, adding that they would need to include remote-controlled lighting and cell phone chargers to make A&E a “less terrifying and overwhelming experience.”

What did Sajid Javid say about the plans?

Five ideas for hospitals of the future have been shortlisted for the £250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the winner will help design future hospitals.

The government is currently embarking on a £3.7bn investment plan in the NHS to build 48 new hospitals.

Mr Javid said: ‘Hospitals are an intrinsic part of local communities and help save lives and keep people healthy.

“We are on track to deliver 48 hospitals by 2030 that will provide staff with the facilities needed to continue providing top quality care for years to come.

“All of our new hospitals will prioritize sustainability, digital technology and the latest building methods, providing state-of-the-art facilities for patients and maximizing value for taxpayers’ money.

“This year’s Wolfson shortlist is full of innovative ideas to help realize these plans and I wish all the finalists the best of luck.”

A second plan suggested hospital designs could include a flash of greenery to improve the well-being of patients and staff.

It says pocket gardens could be placed between wards and skylights could be added to increase the amount of wildlife and natural light in hospitals.

Sketches suggested trees could be grown on the outside of hospitals and their grounds could include gardens.

The plan also provides space for a private market with local products that can be added to hospitals, in addition to an urban farm and a staff bar on the roof.

A third shortlisted proposal for the award proposes to build starfish-shaped hospitals to divide them into five core activities.

One wing in each wing would provide emergency care, disease diagnosis, operating rooms, intensive care units and laboratories.

The authors added that their hospital would integrate plant life and the welcoming environment to make entering hospitals “feel like a five-star hotel.”

A fourth plan suggests the NHS should focus on building smaller hospitals in English cities to ensure GPs and other services are in the same place.

The authors say this would create a “unified clinical faculty” and remove the need for long car trips to hospitals, minimizing their carbon footprint.

The final plan shortlisted for the award proposed the construction of new ‘holistic’ hospitals.

Under the plan, neutral and sterile designs would be revised and new performance indicators would be introduced.

These include monitoring self-reported patient well-being, self-reported happiness of hospital staff and self-reported happiness of hospital visitors.

Mr Javid said: ‘Hospitals are an intrinsic part of local communities and help save lives and keep people healthy.

“We are on track to deliver 48 hospitals by 2030 that will provide staff with the facilities needed to continue providing top quality care for years to come.

“All of our new hospitals will prioritize sustainability, digital technology and the latest building methods, providing state-of-the-art facilities for patients and maximizing value for taxpayers’ money.

“This year’s Wolfson shortlist is full of innovative ideas to help realize these plans and I wish all the finalists the best of luck.”

Lord Kakkar, who chairs the jury, said this year’s finalists were ‘examples of brilliant thinking, around the world, on how to better serve patients and support staff in hospitals’.

He added: ‘With a renewed focus on hospital construction in the UK, these finalists have a great opportunity to shape how NHS hospitals look, feel and function.’

The finalists were selected from over 250 entries submitted by architects, planners, clinicians and patients from NHS trusts.

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