Although I was invited to the Young Foundation meeting about its plans to set up an Institute of Healthcare Design, I was unable to attend and have not been advising them, contrary to the report in Design Week (News, DW 22 April).
However, Frances Sorrell and I have long been convinced of the power of design to improve healthcare and The Sorrell Foundation’s Joined Up Design for Health project between 2003 and 2005 created the platform for some of the thinking and developments which have taken place since.
Our report, Critical Points, set out the results of our demonstration project to improve patient experience of the NHS through design interventions. Our collaborators – Fletcher Priest Architects, Atelier Works, Priestman Goode and the Helen Hamlyn Centre – worked for a client team of frontline NHS staff. A range of intelligent design concepts emerged and, most importantly, we were able to open a conversation with the then chief executive and Permanent Secretary of the NHS and his team. It is vital to persuade policy-makers that good design is not only good for patients and staff, but also cost-effective.
We are delighted to see the recent initiatives by the Design Council, the Young Foundation and others who are joining this battle, which is a key area for the use of design to benefit society.
Sir John Sorrell, Co-chairman of The Sorrell Foundation, by e-mail