HC Deb 10 April 2002 vol 383 cc484-5W
Ms Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the design and construction of(a)new hospitals, (b)hospital extensions and (c)hospital refurbishment. [43690]

Mr. Hutton

'Achieving Excellence in Healthcare Design' is the Department's programme to deliver design excellence in national health service buildings. We are raising the profile of design, partnering with key architectural professional bodies and supporting the NHS by providing advice and guidance at key stages of the procurement process.

Each hospital embarking on a new development, however large or small, will nominate a local design champion from the Trust board to ensure that the new building provides a high quality patient-focused environment with good working conditions for staff and buildings that make a positive contribution to the local neighbourhood.

To ensure that good design is embedded within the NHS hospital building programme design proposals will be reviewed by a panel, led by NHS Estates with the Prince's Foundation, CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) and others. Designs will be reviewed at the earliest stages of the procurement process before a preferred bidder is chosen.

Future new projects will need to provide evidence of the involvement of staff, patients and the public in planning their design.

Mr. Hoban

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in drawing up the legal and financial framework within which foundation hospitals will operate. [48023]

Mr. Hutton

The full implications and details surrounding the establishment of foundation hospitals are still being explored. We are working with a broad range of interested parties including 3 star trusts to take this work forward.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assistance he plans to give to rural hospitals in the new status health authorities. [43398]

Mr. Hutton

The NHS Plan sets out our vision for a health service designed around the patient, offering a comprehensive range of services for everyone, using the guiding principle of providing as much care as possible as close to home as possible.

It will be for local primary care organisations, working in partnership with the new health authorities, to develop services that meet the needs of the community they serve, taking account of clinical standards and safety and the views of local people. Rural hospitals clearly have an important role to play in meeting patients' desire for care closer to home.