Patients are helping to shape the design of two new Leeds hospitals by offering their first-hand experiences as part of engagement sessions with the architects who are creating the new facilities.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust are developing two new hospitals in one building on the Leeds General Infirmary site – a new adults’ hospital including a new maternity centre as well as a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital.

Designing with patients

Architects Perkins&Will are currently designing the new hospitals and are engaging with patients, patient groups, staff and clinicians to help inform their plans.

Retired nurse Edwina Gerry from Cookridge, Leeds said she was impressed by the plans of architects Perkins&Will for three separate sections and waiting areas for the different hospitals on site – children’s, adults’ and maternity.

“It was interesting to hear from the design team and to appreciate the desire to make these clinical spaces so much more acceptable to those future patients who will be the same as we have always been – worried, fearful and craving friendly support and reassurance,” said Edwina.

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She added:

“Having spent many hours in Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital its atrium is a most pleasing space with interesting art work, mixed seating, a cafe with a terrace and some greenery – all helping to provide some semblance of normality.”

Another patient, Anne Claire Winfield from Cookridge, Leeds, has been using the hospital for 30 years since being an in-patient at Leeds Children’s Hospital from the age of 10.  

As a wheelchair user, Anne said she noted an ease of access in the design in linking current departments in Leeds General Infirmary with the new hospitals.  “It’s very important to make the hospital buildings wheelchair accessible and the signs in the actual buildings and departments are available at a suitable height for wheelchair users,” she said.

She said she liked the amount of greenery and open spaces planned on the roof of the new hospitals which would provide a peaceful haven for patients, parents and staff to use.  She felt the increase in windows would let in more light benefitting all hospital users.

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Philip Elphick, 64, from North Leeds, said he wanted to see the new hospitals designed to be autistic-friendly after being diagnosed with the condition a few years ago.  “It would be good to have quick, well-signposted routes to give stress-free access to departments and to have quiet areas with dimmable lights where an autistic person could wait or de-stress if needed,” he said.

“I know from my own experience being autistic how important this will be and is a design opportunity not to be missed,” he added.  “I also think it is important for the new hospital to be fully accessible by blind and visually impaired people without the need to involve sighted guides as is currently the case.”

Engagement sessions

Simon Worthington, the Trust’s Director of Finance and Senior Responsible Officer for Building the Leeds Way, said the engagement sessions are an important part of the process in reaching out to patients and staff with the new hospital designs.

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“We’re grateful for all those who have been taking part in these sessions as they are important as hospital users in helping to shape how the new buildings will look and feel,” he said.

Architects Perkins&Will are capturing feedback from the engagement sessions and will consider them as they move forward with their design. 

Mark Rowe, Managing Principal at Perkins&Will, said the engagement was giving his team a real insight into the needs of patients.  

“We are designing buildings with and for patients, staff and clinicians, so it is important that they have input at this stage as we begin progressing the concepts of these exciting new hospitals,” he said. 

During the engagement session, led by Art in Site, illustrator Paola Rozo produced a mural which captured some of the comments which we share here.
A Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal, run by Leeds Hospitals Charity, aims to raise £30 million to support the development of the new hospital.The funding will go towards enhancing the hospital with the latest technology and the best medical equipment, creating a state-of-the-hospital designed with children in mind.