Psychiatric and Primary Care Centre – Small Heath

Small Heath, Birmingham, UK

NHS Birmingham East and North (formerly East Birmingham Health Authority)

Lead Consultant


Completed 1994

Project description:
The Small Heath Health Centre, is designed to offer flexible space for use by various medical services, including GPs, with both day and residential care with 14 mental health acute beds each in single rooms. The main entrance waiting area and reception serves both mental and general health services. The two storey mental health wing has day spaces on the ground floor and bedrooms above.

On the upper floor shared staff offices and facilities encourage service integration and improved communication. Externally, the palette of materials – three different kinds of brick with panelling is managed carefully and informally.

The commissioning of a new family healthcare centre in Birmingham offered an imaginative opportunity to create a new kind of facility.  This brought together, for the first time in England, stakeholders helping to break down the stigma of mental illness and to improve communication between the healthcare agencies.

Evolving funding strategies led to new initiatives and markets. Medical Architecture have worked on ventures that included supporting both the health service client in project definition and acting for the private sector. Small Heath Health Centre was an expression of the Trust’s commitment to a community based mental health service. This represented an opportunistic piece of joint commissioning, bringing together a health centre, GP practice and a community mental health centre with 14 acute beds in the same facility within an inner city location.

“As well as its deceptively seamless design, key to the success of this building is its single management, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust, in turn, leases space to the family health team. After 11 years, three decorations and operating at full capacity, the centre still looks fresh and bright, uncluttered by the plethora of scrappy notices that typifies so many NHS facilities.” – Design and neighbourhood Health care Buildings’ Published in 2006

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