Healthcare Estates 2018: NWCH panel shows a healthier industry is within reach

North West Construction Hub were privileged to host a panel discussion at the recent Healthcare Estates event, held on 9th October 2018 at Manchester Central. The panel was chaired by Joanna Chomeniuk, Framework Lead and the topic was: ‘Wellbeing: how to build better buildings’.

The panel consisted of:

Professor Jason Underwood – University of Salford

Dr Mark Bew – Director at Engineering Construction Strategies,

Neil Grice – Estates Lead, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

Jo Kember – Director, Gilling Dod Architects

Mike Tyler – BD Manager, F Parkinson

Barney Harle – MCC Head of Major Projects, Manchester City Council


The built environment has a wide ranging impact on health and the panel discussion elaborated on wellbeing aspects of the built environment as well as how we can build better buildings for future health provision.

Questions that were put to the panel included:

– Please name 2 main challenges you face on an everyday basis when trying to build the right buildings for the future?

– What options are available to support building better buildings for the future health provision considering lack of availability of capital for the NHS?

– How does academia and research support the whole systems’ initiative, to link health, housing and wider public services more effectively?

– How can academia influence future built environment professionals to become more collaborative and incorporate mindfulness?

– Can an intelligent client and lean design support well- being of end- users? Can you please give us some examples buildings supporting end user well- being?

– From a commissioner and contractor point of view: How do you look into capacity of buildings to influence wellbeing of end users?

The panel was well attended and on top of this success, the NWCH stand was kept very busy throughout the day, with contacts in the healthcare sector being made and educated on the Hub, and the message of collaboration spread even further afield.

I learned during the panel discussion the value of investing in adaptable and flexible buildings for the future. What is needed is buildings that can meet end user’s needs not only now but also in 10, 20 and 30 years time. This includes design, choice of materials, building technology and investment from a client. The panel talked about the skills required in the future and the role of clients in creating smarter designs for the future. Joanna Chomeniuk, NWCH Framework Lead

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