News & Media

Practising connection: the Surgery of the Future 4.0


We’ve launched our next phase of our ‘Designing the Future‘ programme with a new series of essays which explores how primary care buildings and environments will need to evolve to support patient experiences of local health services and improve equality of access to healthcare in future.

‘Practising Connection’ argues that future design is as much about local health ‘ecosystems’ as it is about buildings and places. The surgery of the future it points to will embrace the very best of medical practice and community collective action. It builds on both the learnings and achievements of the COVID pandemic, to place the patient at the heart of everything.

The publication has its origins during the second national lockdown in 2020. We worked with Jericho Chambers to convene a series of six roundtable conversations: Public Health: In the Right Place? The pun was intentional, suggesting an examination of where physically the processes of primary health care are carried out – in what source of bricks and mortar surgeries – and also where it sits on the continuum of medicine and wellbeing.

The publication opens with views from the award-winning GP team in our Frome Medical Centre building in Somerset – the “poster child” for local ecosystem thinking. Further contributors include:

  • David Grayson, former Chair of Carers UK, who reflects on the continuing debate about how to fund social care, and the urgent need for a long-term plan for the sector, putting a Collaborative Commitment at the centre of social and primary care
  • Dr Olivia Chapple of charity Horatio’s Garden on the benefits of nature for patient wellbeing and morale
  • Dame Laura Lee, CEO of charity Maggie’s, explores the crucial challenge of how to best make hospitals welcoming environments
  • Journalist Matthew Gwyther provides an overview of the historic but pioneering Peckham Experiment and how the past can help shape the future- the potential for a patient-centric, community-focused primary care ecosystem
  • Brendan Martin, Managing Director of Buurtzog UK and Ireland, writes about his organisation’s radical approach to healthcare that centres around localism and neighbourhood care
  • Andy Russell, Growth Director at Nyby, on how digital infrastructure and peer-to-peer tech networks can adapt healthcare to be more personable, decentralised, and suitable for patient needs
  • Ab Rogers, designer, explains why design (both systemic and architectural) is central to creating spaces that can fit to function no matter how demand shifts- while feeling truly embedded in the local neighbourhood.

We are especially grateful to Danny Kruger MP and author Margaret Heffernan for their input and guidance.

Our CEO, Jonathan Murphy, says: “Our mission is to try to create places – buildings and exterior environments – which move forward from the sense of a patient waiting for something to happen to them. Having primary care in the right place in the health ecosystem – literally and metaphorically – is where that shift can happen.”