Edinburgh Napier to investigate best practice in healthcare built environment


ADMINISTRATION of a £1 million research budget focused on developing the best practice in the built environment for healthcare has been awarded to Edinburgh Napier University.

It comes as part of NHS Scotland Assure, which has been designed to improve the manage of risk in the built environment across Scotland – providing greater confidence to stakeholders with a ‘key focus’ in developing opportunities for multi-disciplinary working within the healthcare built environment.

This fund aims to provide opportunities to explore development of a consortium of different disciplines which delivers research in line with the identified needs of NHS Scotland Assure. The service will share best practice case studies in standards and models for the built environment.

Edinburgh Napier University explained that healthcare buildings and environments play a ‘large part’ in preventing and controlling the risk of transmission of infection and other harms – thus making it ‘essential’ that buildings are safe, resilient and not vulnerable to the risks.

Guidance and advice generated by NHS Scotland Assure helps to ensure that patients, their carers, and those delivering healthcare in an environment which is not only safe but also effective and person centred. The university said research plays a ‘pivotal part’ in supporting this as it ensures that produced guidance and given advice are based, not only on best practice, but also on best evidence.

Over the next two years, the research programme will focus on eight healthcare environments:

  • Water systems, including drainage (Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance (DICM))
  • Ventilation systems (DICM)
  • Pathogens, the microbiome, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), transmission risks and burden of disease in the hospital environment
  • Hospital design, including size and single room provision
  • Lessons learned from Covid-19
  • Human factors/Ergonomics and Infection Prevention and Control
  • Climate change requirements and the unintended consequences on built environment risks
  • The role of safety and harms in relation to medical gases, electrical systems and fire safety.

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, vice principal, research and innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, said, “We are very excited to announce this award, which is a good fit for the University’s experience and ongoing strategy, and reflects our commitment to develop our well-established research and teaching expertise in health and wellbeing.

“The success of the fund will be a priority for our schools of applied sciences and engineering & the built environment, and the university’s research, innovation and enterprise department, who will all play their part in supporting the research programme.”