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Pandemic Problems – The RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design Steps In

Jonathan West (Research Fellow, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design) and his team at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (HHCD) were quick to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, contacting their clinical colleagues and partners to see where they could help. 

As the number of critically ill patients surged, speed was needed to help those most at risk. And, as the new Covid wards started to fill, countless NHS workers were redeployed to begin their work in these unfamiliar environments. 

Jonathan and his team, including HHCD Research Associates Juliette Poggi and Imran Nazerali, heard from NHS staff about the challenges they were facing, so the team started thinking about how design could help ease these problems. 


University College Hospital

UCL intensive care recovery complex map
University College Hospital map in use, 2020
University College Hospital had an urgent need to help redeployed members of staff to easily locate important emergency equipment and understand PPE requirements in specific hospital zones.

West's team used information design to create bespoke signage and maps for the new recovery complex. By communicating vital information clearly and simply the team helped bring clarity to the working environment, and help staff locate vital equipment.


Public Health Wales 

The HHCD team also worked with Public Health Wales to make their drive-through testing kits easy to use. 

Coronavirus Testing Kit
Coronavirus Testing Kit, 2020

They focused on the patient experience and made sure that the step-by-step instructions were simple and contained no medical jargon.  This ensured that patients could quickly understand how to safely collect a sample. Instructions were made available in English and Welsh.


Click here to find out more about how the RCA community are responding to Covid-19.