ENVIRONMENT: Improving green space access around Scotland’s ‘super hospital’

By Lucy Ashton 

Work has begun on ambitious plans to radically improve the green space around the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow. While plans remain at an early stage, it is hoped that when complete, the campus will be a hub for improved greenspace, active travel and biodiversity that will benefit patients, staff, visitors and the local community.

The plans have been unveiled as part of Green Health Week, which encourages people to enjoy some of the incredible natural resources which make up so much of Scotland’s landscape to improve their physical and mental health.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has commissioned erz Landscape Architects as part of enabling works to review the campus site. The study aims to explore and identify the potential of a ‘greener’ QEUH campus landscape for the social, environmental and economic benefit of the hospital, its staff, patients and visitors and those who live nearby. The study sets out the opportunities presented at a strategic level, looking at green networks and active travel opportunities in the wider area. It then focuses on the campus itself and seeks to find opportunities for improving active travel, biodiversity, wayfinding and navigability, as well as arts programmes and environmental improvements.

Tom Steele, Director of Facilities and Estates at NHSGGC, said: “The QEUH campus provides us with an incredible opportunity to improve the greenspace, connecting the hospital with local communities and providing improved space for patients and staff.

“We all know the benefits of greenspace for our mental and physical health and NHSGGC is committed to investing in our estate to take advantage of the natural health service on our doorstep.

“With Glasgow hosting COP26 later this year, we must all work together to improve sustainability and with it our physical and mental health.”

The QEUH greenspace project is led by NHSGGC’s Sustainability Team, with the UN Sustainable Development Goals being a key driver. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 interlinked global goals, which act as a blue print for a better and more sustainable future for all, with key objectives such as reducing inequality, ending poverty and tackling climate change.

Felicity Steers, Director of Glasgow-based erz Landscape Architects, said:
“A lot of community life happens in the spaces between buildings and this is particularly true during COVID restrictions. Other work we have done for NHSGGC and NHS Scotland shows the many benefits of good outdoor spaces which can be used for rest and respite, outdoor meetings, exercise and therapies. The potential at the QEUH Campus is huge and we are really looking forward to working with the team there to develop Phase One and get people outdoors making positive use of the full range of outdoor spaces.”

The next phase of the project will see detailed design drawings and cost plans developed that will enable funding to be sought from external partners to deliver the physical element of the project.

That will see:

  • Larger scale strategic work creating a “QEUH HUB” with improved greenspace, biodiversity and active travel areas for patients, staff, visitors and the local community.
  • Working with arts and health teams to bring greenspace indoors as part the “Welcome to QEUH Initiative” – enhancing internal & external space for staff mental health and exercise. The focus will be to “green” the main indoor foyer areas for staff and patient wellbeing.
  • Integrate active travel corridors for uptake of Next & e-bike routes from QEUH to other transports links in the local area and beyond to other NHSGGC sites creating a hub for the Govan area and improving interconnectivities for all stakeholders.
  • Implementation of outdoor activity and communal areas for patients, staff and visitors.

A crucial part of the project will be engagement with staff, patients, carers and all our communities who visit, and live around the QEUH. This engagement activity will help ensure that our green spaces reflect the needs and desires of the people who will be using them the most. You can share your initial thoughts on how we can best use our green spaces at https://link.webropol.com/s/QEUHGreenSpace

ENDS

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