Designers can lead the way in NHS environments

I write in reply to Tim Rich’s Private View (DW 2 May) Given the right treatment: In a nutshell, environments have the potential to transform people’s lives.

Isn’t this the purpose of the National Health Service as I read the Department of Health’s website? It seems as though it is. Therefore, it would seem as though the goal of developing environments for the NHS should be consistent with this aim.

Those buildings that the public has the greatest appreciation for inspire the human spirit, and provide access to a ‘beingness’ that reaches beyond our everyday experience. This is the NHS brief for the next generation of estates.

Of course, this is simpler to say than to do. Accomplishing this will require a cultural and social approach to environmental design, which is not easily ‘procured’ through the current system of commodity provision. Not that it is impossible, it’s just that there aren’t enough courageous champions around who are willing to take a stand on this position.

The challenge is a leadership one, but not in the traditional sense.

Wayne Ruga

wruga@post.harvard.edu

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