Innovative blind solution for £10m Suffolk health centre

BetweenGlassBlinds' Tilt & Lift panels installed at Sudbury Community Health Centre

When conventional blind systems were deemed unsuitable for a new £10m health centre, an alternative solution was needed.

Sudbury Community Health Centre in Suffolk, one of the biggest buildings of its kind in the country, replaces the soon-to-be redundant Walnuttree Hospital, Acton Lane Clinic and St Leonard’s Hospital. The ground floor houses a GP surgery with 12 consulting rooms, an X-ray room, a dental treatment suite, a mobile assessment unit where MRI scanning will be available on a regular basis, a pharmacy, a podiatry unit, and audiology services. The first floor will be home to midwifery and mental health services, with consulting rooms and offices. Out-of-hours GP services will also operate from the centre.

While developing the unit the project team – made up of NHS Property Services, Assura Group, Galliford Try Partnerships, NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, and the local community – hunted for a suitable blind solution complete with tilt and lift functionality.

A conventional blind system was deemed unsuitable for the project due to a number of reasons including that they gather dust and dirt and regularly needed cleaning; they flap around and make a noise, even in a slight breeze if the window is left open; they get damaged easily; and they can be a fire or safety hazard.

The team eventually chose a system from BetweenGlassBlinds (BGB).

Ideal for clinical environments, the innovative, versatile and maintenance-free integrated blinds allow the user full control of privacy along with the ability to reduce glare and sunlight keeping a room at a more-moderate temperature.

BetweenGlassBlinds’ Tilt & Lift panel offer a standard integral blind system with the ability to tilt the slats from open to close as well as lift or raise the internal blinds for maximum exposure.

The blinds are controlled by two discreetly-hidden powerful magnets located around the unit perimeter. The magnets control the operation of the blinds.

Other reasons for the decision to install over 50 BGB units on the project were that the stylish design sees the blind sit inside a hermetically-sealed double-glazed argon-filled unit, which protects the blind from damage, dirt and grime; meaning it never needs cleaning and is completely maintenance free.

Martin Royal, regional director for NHS Property Services in Midlands and East, said: “The health centre will provide patients with a modern, safe, high-quality environment in which to access a wide range of healthcare services under one roof.”