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The next stage in improving design quality in health service buildings is about to get under way. The NHS has received bids from 49 contractors to take part in the ProCure 21 NHS Estates initiative, based on collaborative working and mutually beneficial contracts.

The initiative, which aims to transform the way hospitals and other healthcare buildings are procured, is the subject of a yearlong study into how it can be combined with PFI procedures to guarantee design quality and certainty of delivery. ProCure 21 seeks guaranteed maximum prices and delivery times.

Peter Woolliscroft, head of construction services at NHS Estates, told a London conference this week that design quality would be paramount in the drive for better buildings, which would have to respond to a consumer culture that had greater expectations.

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