Design Council to launch patient dignity competition

The Design Council and the Department of Health are set to launch a new project which will address issues around patient dignity and privacy in hospitals.

The Design for Patient Dignity scheme will follow the same structure as the Design Bugs Out competition launched last year, which saw four designers create five new pieces of hospital furniture to combat the spread of infection. However, the new scheme will have a slightly broader format, potentially encompassing service and system design, as well as product design.

Design for Patient Dignity will launch on 1 October, when designers will be invited to team up with manufacturers and tackle briefs which will help healthcare staff to manage the hospital environment and to improve patient dignity and privacy.

The briefs, which are being finalised this week, will focus mainly, but not exclusively, on mixed-sex hospital wards.

Ahead of the briefs going live, the Design Council has convened an advisory board to select designs, which will be headed by Jane Priestman, former director of architecture and design with British Airways, and former director of architecture, design and environment for British Rail. Priestman is also a former enabler for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, where she worked with health authorities.

Priestman says, ‘This project will run in the same format as Design Bugs Out, but I don’t think it will be as easy. In many cases, the issues are not simple design issues, and we will have to look at process.’

The steering group will also feature Joe Ferry, head of design at Virgin Atlantic, Neal Stone, former head of design at British Airways, and services engineer professor Max Fordham, 2008 winner of the Prince Philip Designers Prize.

David Kester, chief executive of the Design Council, says, ‘I think Jane will be fantastic for this project – it’s absolutely up her street. She’s hugely steeped in health issues and her experience of internal environments and architecture will be very valuable.’

Kester adds, ‘Like the issues tackled in Design Bugs Out, the issues in the Design for Patient Dignity scheme concern us all. If you asked the public what concerns them most about healthcare, they would say the spread of MRSA and C Difficile, and patient dignity.’

The Design Bugs Out scheme resulted in prototype designs including a commode and chair designed by Pearson Lloyd and bedside storage designed by Kinneir Dufort.

Design for Patient Dignity

  • Will be run to the same structure as Design Bugs Out, but will move beyond product design
  • Design advisory panel is being led by Jane Priestman
  • Briefs are being set this week
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  • David Yarwood November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Patient dignity: as told by a doctor in hospital last month when visiting my brother – “You should leave your dignity at the front door of the hostpital.”

    If you can’t have your clothes, don’t have good health the least you want to have is your dignity. This should be an interesting project!

  • Maria Ana Neves November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It is a fascinating project and great challenge for design research, especially due to its sensitive nature: in one level, it requires to understand that dignity means different things to different people, depending on culture, age, gender, context, human interaction and even the disease may create different levels of emotional discomfort. On the other level, it will showcase the value of a design-led research approach to obtain personal sensitive data, where there is an unbalanced power relationship between the client (patient) and the service provider. Looking forward to this project outcomes, we will all learn from it!

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