design worldwide partnership

How to deliver healthcare in a more humane way

Ron Bridgefoot, dwp’s Group Health Sector Leader talks about healthcare design and creating healing spaces.

Hospitals and health centres are not traditionally places where there is the expectation of amazing design; but dwp aims to change that. Ron says: “It is our ambition to improve healthcare environments. To bring a sense of community back to wellness, and healing back into the community. We design hospitals that are shaped by informed people. People who demand a system that partners with patients.”

Cultural awareness is key in dwp’s healthcare design. Ron says “Many learnings from around Asia, are applied to the way we design hospitals. Our experiences in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangkok, China and India can be applied to the West. In many places, including the Middle East, when a patient comes in; the whole family comes in.”

In creating more sustainable, more holistic and more humane hospital environments lessons learnt in developing countries show great improvements can be achieved at very little cost. Often it can be a simple solution like designing for the flow of fresh air or creating an internal courtyard so patients have access to nature. A hospital is not just a building. It is a place where many of life’s milestones occur: births, deaths, miracles, healing, sickness and the full emotional range of human experience from joy to grief. “We have to look at the bigger picture”, says Ron.

“Exceptional healthcare design requires many things before drawing the first line in Revit. Excellent communication, clarity of purpose, leadership and, of course, awareness of the very latest research and healthcare innovations. It is a collaborative process. It involves numerous people with specialist knowledge.”

dwp’s vision for healthcare is holistic. It addresses the physical, mental and social well­being of patients, their families and carers as well as staff and the wider community. Ron says: “We use our architectural and interior design expertise combined with experience across Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East and, of course, cutting edge medical research to design environments that are ideal places for healing, being healed and the wellbeing of everyone.”  

For more information, please get in touch with Ron at or see the health section of our website.

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