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Re-using Nightingale assets for NHS high street clinics




Covid-19 has meant delays for many in seeking diagnostic tests in the NHS, but architectural and engineering practice BDP has found a way to bring tests into the shopping centre, for a more convenient experience, while making use of the department store.


The design team that developed the temporary NHS Nightingale Emergency Hospitals that were deployed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, has overseen the completion of the first of 40 community NHS diagnostic centres opening in England.


To reduce the current pressures on the NHS, interdisciplinary design consultancy BDP and its construction and facilities management partner CFES have been working with University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust to open a new centre for breast screening and diagnostics in Beales department store in Poole. Situated in the Dolphin Shopping Centre, it will also offer testing and assessments for orthopaedics, ophthalmology and dermatology diagnoses.


In a highly sustainable and efficient move, the BDP team has reclaimed and reused materials from the demounted Nightingale Hospitals across the UK to build a one-stop-shop for much needed and overdue checks, scans and tests in the community.


Paul Johnson, architect director at BDP, who also led the design of the Nightingale Hospital in London's Excel centre, explains:


'This project is the first of its kind in the country. Not only does it support a circular economy by re-using the materials from the emergency Covid-19 hospitals in an existing building, it is also built on the same collaborative and sustainable methods of design and construction.


'NHS waiting lists are at an all-time high and through good design, based on imaginative adaptation of space and recycling of equipment, we are creating real solutions to the problem. As a collaborative, interdisciplinary team, we are thinking bigger about the issues faced by today's society. This new centre will help bring true health benefits to the community, reduce pressure on our NHS and give a welcome boost to the retail sector. We are very proud to be a part of such an impactful and important initiative and hope to deliver this flexible and repeatable solution for another 39 diagnostic centres in original, under-utilised spaces across the country.'

The new centres will benefit millions of people by providing earlier diagnostics and more convenient and accessible treatment in communities across the country. The design also contributes to the NHS's net zero ambitions by providing multiple tests at one visit, reducing the number of patient journeys and helping to cut carbon emissions and air pollution.


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