So the time has come for an upgrade to your existing clinic, or you have made the decision to build a brand new practice. Congratulations!
This is an extremely exciting time, but before we get caught up in what colour the floors are going to be or the style of visitor chairs you want in your waiting room (which don’t get me wrong, are equally as important) you need to make sure you are getting the right general practice clinic design done by a medical professional in order to make sure that not only are you getting the perfect practice to suit you, your staff and patients, now and in the future, but a general practice clinic design that meets all current codes and standards in order to pass a final inspection.
Some important things that need to be discussed during the design process in order to ensure your clinic is going to meet all codes and standards are:
Simply put, body protection means that every power point in your practice is protected by a safety switch therefore protecting patients if they need to be treated with equipment that is plugged into the wall.
These safety switches are particularly sensitive to earth leakage currants, a lot more sensitive than those in a residential or office setting, therefore protecting you, your staff and your patients from any chance of an electrical shock while treatment is taking place.
The main thing to take from this is not all existing tenancies are body protected, especially older buildings or buildings that were previously used for a purpose other than medical. This is something that needs to be checked when moving into or purchasing a tenancy and needs to be upgraded when any electrical works take place.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) states:
‘Where a physical feature (for example, one arising from the design or construction of a building or the approach or access to premises) makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled persons to make use of such a service, it is the duty of the provider of that service to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case, for him to have to take in order to :- Remove the feature, Alter it so that is no longer has that effect, Provide a reasonable means of avoiding the feature; or, Provide reasonable alternative method of making the service in question available to disabled persons’
Essentially everything needs to be accessible to every disabled patient, visitor or staff member visiting your practice. This is why it is extremely important that you appoint a fitout company or builder that has the relevant medical experience when going ahead with your general practice clinic design.
There are many things that need to be thought out when designing your floor plan, from the amount of amenities required to the size of the rooms, in order to comply with DDA standards. All of these things need to be taken into consideration and designed correctly from the beginning to reduce the risk of expensive changes occurring once construction or refurbishment has commenced.
2020 has brought the new (and unwanted) craze of social distancing. Now whenever we visit the dentist, doctor or even supermarket we are required to stand 1.5m apart from the people around us and hand sanitisation is no longer an option.
We don’t know how long this virus is going to be an issue for so it is important that social distancing is part of your new general practice clinic design.
Whether you want to set something up temporarily, such as sneeze guards at reception that can be removed without too much disruption to joinery, or you are looking for something a little more permanent in order to reduce the risk of viruses spreading within your practice in the future it is important to make the time to go through all the available options to find what will be right for you, your staff and your patients.
These are only a few things that need to be taken into consideration when envisaging a new general practice clinic design and as you can see it is of the upmost importance to make sure you are dealing with a construction and/or fitout company who have the experience and knowledge that goes with creating a modern, functional and up to code medical facility.