Children and young people have their say on hospital design

Spaces to hide, play and relax should all be incorporated into the design of Lothian’s new hospital for children and young people according to research being presented today (Tuesday 9 March).

Children and young people aged from three to 17 have been asked to share their ideas and aspirations for the new hospital as part of the design consultation process. There suggestions focused on the use of colour, lighting and materials to help make the hospital environment warm and welcoming.

NHS Lothian commissioned consultancy Creation to involve children and young people in the design process and capture their ideas.

The team at Creation held a series of workshops with different groups. They started the process with regular visitors to the hospital’s Drop in Centre, with children ranging from ages three to six and a second group aged six to 13.  They also worked with young people of different age groups from NHS Lothian’s Mental Health Services and with a number of primary schools, including one for children with special needs.

The results are being presented to the architects and NHS Lothian project team today and will be incorporated into the next stage of the design process.

Hanneke Scott-van Wel from Creation said:

 “The challenge of the consultation was to enable the participants to gain an understanding about spaces and places that have not yet been built, and to give them confidence to express their own ideas about the built environment.
“We focused on the character of the building, the entrance and the routes through the buildings. Rainbows and coloured glass evoking happiness and hope are a common theme - several participants pointed out that coloured glass looks nice but would also project happy colours on the floors.
“A common concern was the confusion and fear caused by the myriad of corridors and doors that can often be found in hospitals. The children and young people want to be able to find their way easily through the hospital and suggested corridors become more communal areas for meeting, relaxing and playing.”

Some of the comments from workshop participants included:


“Pictures of clouds, sky and mountains are good when you are ill and you have to look at the ceiling a lot, a different place away from the outside for when you are ill.”


“When I’m not feeling well I don’t want to go outside, I want to be away from the window and cosy. When I’m feeling better I’d like to go outside, or inside maybe plant a daffodil.”

Brain Currie, Project Director, NHS Lothian said:

“It’s extremely important to NHS Lothian that we incorporate the views of the children and young people who may be using the hospital into our design.
“Their ideas and suggestions are really inspirational and I know they will be thrilled when they see these become a reality in the new building.”