Physical environment—creating the right atmosphere
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The majority of hospitals which are presently in use in the United Kingdom were built just before, or at the turn of, the twentieth century. Although our Victorian and Edwardian forbears were excellent architects and craftsmen, their hospitals were built for styles of practice and treatment which have long since been outmoded by the rapid developments in medicine and surgery. The hurried upgradings and alterations to accommodate changing practice have often been ill-conceived, and their execution has sadly failed to match up to the high standards and elegance of the original buildings. Cost-cutting has necessarily led to inferior workmanship, and patient and staff amenities have often been sacrificed in order to contain costs. Cramped and insufficient waiting areas in out-patients departments, the loss of privacy in wards due to poor design, ineffective and insufficient screening, poor and inadequate changing facilities for staff, and too few toilets, are all common examples of how the desire to save money has led to a reduction in the quality of services.
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