R&D for running NHS Estates must be stepped up, conference told

The amount of innovation, research and development put into running National Health Service estates in a more joined-up and efficient manner is “woefully light”, delegates at the Healthcare Estates conference heard this morning.

 Simon Corben, director and head of profession, NHS estates and facilities efficiency and productivity division, told attendees: “From an infrastructure point of view, the way a patient travels through the estate is broken.”

He added that thought had to be given to this area “on a system-wide basis”.

Corben said: “We all relate back to personal circumstances and you can see inappropriateness. You can see people wanting to give the very best of care to patients in inappropriate environments. We talk a lot about patients but I think it’s important that we understand staff as well. If one-and-a-half million staff working in pretty low-rate facilities that has a huge impact on motivation, retention and some other really important aspects. We really need to innovate [to address these matters].”

He said that often clinical strategies are given too much thought (clinical strategies are generally designed to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience) when they move forward and develop so quickly.

Corben said: “We get hung up on clinical strategies… I think what we have to do is look at the system and bring the system together and understand what is right for the demographic.” 

The conference and exhibition continues at the Manchester Central Convention Complex this afternoon.