Gardens may help keep NHS staff

Open spaces as important to staff as they are to patients

A garden or other open space is vital for those who work in the health industry as well as the patients. The effect a garden has on the well-being of patients is well documented, but now a report has highlighted the needs of staff too. The Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE) hired business adviser PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate if hospital design and working conditions had an impact on the recruitment and retention of NHS nursing staff in England. Among the findings was that gardens or outside spaces were seen as important ways of attracting and retaining nursing staff. A London nurse told researchers: “By having a place where we can relax, it shows they care about us.” A nurse in south-west England added: “It is nice to work in a place where — when you have a break — it’s possible to take a walk and get some fresh air. It can help to relieve some of the stress of doing the job.” The proposed design for a major new hospital in east London has been criticised by CABE, which has stated that the neighbouring buildings around the existing Royal London Hospital have resulted in a cramped and awkwardly shaped redevelopment area. However, CABE has praised six schemes that are part of the regeneration of Castleford in West Yorkshire. The six include a children’s play forest and the transformation of the area near the town’s rivers and canal. CABE’s acting chairman, Paul Finch, said the projects were backed-up with thorough design analyses and were also supported by members of the local community, who worked with the local authority and the designers.

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