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Interior Architecture and Design students at the Outpatients Assessment Centre in Poole. Viewed from a diagonal, a group of people lines up and poses for a photo.

Think Big: AUB partnership project with Our Dorset shortlisted for national healthcare award


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A partnership project between Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and Dorset’s Integrated Care System (ICS) Our Dorset, has been shortlisted for a national healthcare award.

AUB has been working with Our Dorset on a joint project to develop their Think Big initiative, which has seen first year BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design students working with local authority partners including BCP Council, Dorset Council, NHS University Hospitals Dorset and Public Health Dorset to support the design of a new Outpatients Assessment Clinic in Poole.

Our Dorset staff have also been delivering lectures to AUB students, with the aim of helping them to understand the health and social care needs of the region, while the University students have been tasked with helping the ICS to consider and develop ideas around designing and delivering community care services across the region.

Monica Fanchin, BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design Course Leader, said: “In this collaborative project, the Interior Architecture and Design course at Arts University Bournemouth had the opportunity to teach and promote the civic responsibility, foster empathy toward the users, putting the users, both patients and staff, at the centre of the design process.

“Inclusivity was a major focus of the design; with the group designing Pala, a character representative of the community. Pala was created with the intention to embody the spirit of the local people and reflect the innovative approach of the new outpatient assessment clinic, signalling an uplifting transformation. Pala means guardian in Sanskrit, a meaning the group felt embodied the role of the NHS.

BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design students said: “Working on the outpatient assessment clinic was an enriching opportunity. Witnessing the impact, the outpatient assessment clinic is having on people’s lives is very inspiring as young designers. We can see the impact our work is having on people using the facilities and we are proud to have contributed to this new approach to healthcare.”

Ashleigh Boreham, Deputy Director Transformation at NHS Dorset, said: “The project has allowed NHS Dorset to partner with Arts University Bournemouth in developing the Outpatient Assessment Centre, integrating the students with clinicians, healthcare planners, the community, architects, the construction industry, and the community, in the co-design and co-production of the new facility.

“Being physically on site and working with all stakeholders, the students have been applying their knowledge to support designs to aid patient navigation in the facility.”

He added: “As active partners immersed in the project, the students have gained insight into the community health needs which has influenced their ideas for the design of future health spaces, and we at NHS Dorset have been energised by their commitment, passion, and drive to promote wellness and make people’s connection with health infrastructure a positive experience."

Dorset's integrated care system (ICS) Our Dorset has been shortlisted in five categories for this year's HSJ Awards, an annual event that celebrates the very best of health care excellence from across the UK. The organisation's awards shortlistings include two nominations for Integrated Care Service of the Year.

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