World Leading UK Designers to Tackle Violence and Aggression in A&E Departments

World Leading UK Designers to Tackle Violence and Aggression in A&E Departments

Leading design agency, PearsonLloyd, has been chosen to spearhead a new design-led approach to reducing violence and aggression in hospital Accident and Emergency departments.

The agency will work with front line staff at three A&E departments across the country to design innovative new ways to reduce violence and aggression towards NHS staff, which is estimated to cost at least £69 million a year in staff absence, loss of productivity and additional security. The year-long project, "Reducing violence and aggression in A&E by design" is being run by the Design Council, and has been commissioned by the Department of Health.

By working with frontline staff PearsonLloyd designers aim to understand the complex relationships between the processes, layout, information and other aspects of design of A&E departments - and how these can be improved to actively reduce the likelihood of violence and aggression occurring. Their new user-centred prototypes for systems, interiors, and other designs will be developed and trialled over the next few months, and unveiled in October this year.

The agency was selected from a field of 47 applications by an independent panel of 20 experts in specialisms such as design, health care, patient experience, architecture and security which was convened by the Design Council. To respond to the challenge PearsonLloyd formed a partnership with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Tavistock Institute, Tavistock Consultancy Service, Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Prof Jonathan Benger from the University of West of England, and Dr Nigel Caldwell, University of Bath.

"This project stems from the belief that the experience of going to and working in an accident and emergency department can be hugely improved by rethinking their design," said Sunand Prasad, Chair of the selection panel. "That has to mean design in its widest sense, from organisational aspects such as the way people, in need of help, are received and given information to the physical settings in which they will spend some time. The applications to take part in the challenge were hugely impressive in the evident talent of the teams as well as their focus on people's experience. PearsonLloyd's submission demonstrated exceptional capabilities to creatively analyse and address key issues across their breadth and depth."

"The team is delighted to have been awarded funding to tackle such a challenging role as reducing violence in A&E departments through design," explained Tom Pearson, partner in PearsonLloyd. "Patients and staff have a right to use and deliver the service in an atmosphere of mutual respect and safety, and we look forward to working with the Department of Health and Design Council on this important project"

"Reducing violence and aggression in A&E by design" follows the success of similar initiatives by the Design Council and the Department of Health to improve patient privacy and dignity and reduce MRSA and C. difficile.

A key part of the brief is that the innovations emerging from the project clearly demonstrate a reduction in incidents of violence and aggression. Another key element of the design will be that they can be cost-effectively and easily applied right across the NHS's A&E departments. The ambition is that that they will be adopted right across the country's NHS Trusts.