North East & Yorkshire

Bradford Royal Infirmary receives an award winning makeover

award winning Bradford Royal Infirmary

The design and refurbishment of two of Bradford Royal Infirmary’s wards – undertaken to improve the hospital environment for elderly patients suffering from dementia – has recently won a national award.

The Building Better Healthcare (BBH) Awards are the main UK awards for healthcare building and design and in 2012 the prize for the Best Interior Design project was taken by Bradford Royal Infirmary.

The BBH Awards have been recognising, rewarding and celebrating best practice and world class architecture, design, facilities and estates management in the healthcare built environment for more than a decade. The awards are open to building, improvement and design projects which demonstrate all-round excellence, celebrating both the achievements of individuals and teams working in either the public or private sectors.

The team behind the award winning project was led by Dawn Parkes, head of nursing for medicine and also included Shane Embleton, estates project manager, Anne Austick, sister, Debbie Beaumont, Matron, and Sarah Szikora, a carer whose mother lives with dementia.

award winning Bradford Royal Infirmary

The BBH judges described the team’s efforts as a “breath of fresh air in terms of interior design in a clinical environment. It is about people inhabiting spaces in a thoughtful manner.”

They continued: “The project was nurse led and involved the local community as part of the multi-disciplinary team. The resulting social spaces on the wards are very difficult to find in many other buildings.

“The project team has been clever with the use of clues on doors so that people are able to find their bed spaces and they have also used colour effectively and things like memory boxes. In addition they have carried out an evaluation and the patients are definitely calmer and happier, as are the staff that work in the environment. It is a very good example of using knowledge and experience to create a very human environment.”

The award ceremony took place last November at The Brewery, London, where team members Shane Embleton, and Debbie Beaumont picked up the prize on behalf of their colleagues.

On receiving the award Shane said: “Whilst we were very surprised and shocked at being told we had won the top prize, everyone in the team is immensely proud of our achievements; achievements that would not have been possible without the support of the Foundation Trust, The King’s Fund, the Department of Health and important local groups like the Alzheimer’s Society in Bradford and Meri Yaadain – an organisation which aims to raise awareness of dementia and give support to sufferers from the South Asian communities in the district.

award winning Bradford Royal Infirmary

“This design award really does put us on the map nationally as a place which puts its patients first in everything that we do, and I hope that we can continue to keep making these types of improvements for the benefit of our patients, visitors and staff.”

The aim of the project was to promote person-centred care, improve interaction between patients and staff, and modify the environment to reduce episodes of agitation, improve the patient experience and staff morale.

When refurbishing the wards, sample colour boards were displayed in both wards so that patients, visitors and staff could select their favourite colours. After consultation, a theme of Yorkshire outdoors using the mediums of cinema and photographs was chosen for the scheme.

The Yorkshire Film Archive was contacted for local footage that could be used for reminiscence work, Eastman Kodak was approached for permission to use its logo, and a district-wide photographic competition was launched.

award winning Bradford Royal Infirmary

Speaking about the new look wards, Head of nursing for medicine and project leader on the design, Dawn Parkes said:

“We know that the physical environment in which we care for people affects the way they feel, and this is especially true for people with dementia and those caring for them in acute hospitals.

“This project has been driven by promoting patient, carer and staff engagement in meaningful activities, rather than accepting patients sitting alone in their rooms or staring at bland walls doing nothing. The programme has real benefits for families and carers, as they can come into the hospital with confidence, secure in the knowledge that staff have designed wards specifically to enhance and enrich their loved one’s care.

“We hope that our wards will continue to make a real difference to the quality of patients’ hospital experience in Bradford and empower staff to deliver expert dementia care.”

Debbie Beaumont, matron for elderly care added:

“Hospitals can be very frightening and disorientating places for people with dementia so anything we can do to enhance the environment and make a patient’s stay more calming and less anxious, is fantastic.

award winning Bradford Royal Infirmary

“Our new environment, when contrasted to the old, definitely provides more of an air of relaxation, warmth, independence and better orientation for patients and their carers.”

Wards 23 and 29 at Bradford Royal Infirmary have now been open and welcoming patients since September 2012. When asked about the patient reaction to the redesign, Debbie went on to say:

“Already we are seeing benefits from the new ward environment; we have seen the amount of patient falls decrease as patients are less disorientated and we are receiving positive remarks from relatives who are telling us that the wards’ surroundings are more peaceful and serene.”

On this issue, Shane Embleton said:

“Since the ward was opened the feedback has been brilliant. We had an evaluation done by the Bradford Institute for Health Research which monitored patients’ opinions throughout the project. They reported a rise in good feedback between the start and finish of the project.”

The development was part funded by the now nationally acclaimed landmark ‘Enhancing the Healing Environment’ programme, developed by The Kings Fund. More than £450,000 was invested by the Foundation Trust from their capital programme,

The Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales, President of the King’s Fund in 2000, as part of the King’s Fund’s activities to mark the millennium.

award winning Bradford Royal Infirmary

The aim of this innovative grants and development programme is to encourage and enable local Trust teams to work in partnership with service users to improve the environment in which they deliver care.


From its beginnings in 1977, PEC has grown from a sole operation specialising in electrical contracts into one of Yorkshire’s leading companies offering retail and commercial fit-outs, refurbishments, bespoke joinery manufacture and project management to UK and European clients in the public and private sectors.

The company works as a principle contractor for many long-standing clients including Magnet, Homebase, Kwik-Fit, Morrisons, Bupa, Q-Park, Jewsons, Aagrah Restaurants and NHS Trusts. Its teams travel throughout Europe to fulfil contracts for international clients, managing and delivering projects for organisations whatever their size – from large businesses to newly-established SMEs.

Most recently PEC was the main contractor on the refurbishment of the Dementia Ward at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

When asked how the works went, PEC Managing Director Sohan Panesar said: “We are delighted that the refurbishment won the accolade for Best Interior Design at the Building Better Healthcare Awards last year.

“This respected award recognises the hard work, commitment and visionary approach of the team responsible for this landmark project. It was a real pleasure working with all the partners and the award, together with the positive comments from all who visit the wards, are a great endorsement of this type of approach to developing healthcare environments.”

Sohan also spoke of what PEC prides itself on, he said:

“We are proud of our reputation for providing a competitively priced service and for our customer-focused way of doing business. We strive – at every level – to deliver the very best for our clients, keeping to budgets and timescales and delivering top quality work safely.

“We know that clients judge our performance on more than the finished project, it’s not just what we do but how we do it that makes PEC successful.”

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