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Architecture can enhance health care

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The interesting debate about design quality in mental-health units (Letters, aj 4.2.99 and 25.2.99) follows on the heels of an interesting symposium of the riba Health Client Forum, held on 28 January 1999, which looked at many of the design issues involved when building facilities for the mentally ill.

However, Giles Oliver's comments have a far wider relevance to healthcare design as a whole. The therapeutic benefits of good design which he outlines in his letter would give added value to any healing environment, be it a doctor's surgery or a large general hospital. All our health buildings would benefit enormously if the procurement systems recognised that architecture can enhance patient care and offer qualities that go beyond meeting cost targets and space standards.

Geoffrey Purves

Newcastle upon Tyne

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