"The research aims to determine which distinct aspects of the interior environment have particular impact on patient and staff satisfaction within maternity units. The study will be conducted in ten different types of maternity unit throughout the UK and will focus on recent developments in healthcare design, in particular the focus on patient-centred design and the patient-as-client philosophy now driving most new healthcare projects. My area of interest is in how this new emphasis on patient experience will impact on staff morale.The theoretical basis for our research lies within Environmental Psychology and Post Occupancy evaluation. The premise for Evidence based design is that a design solution for any new build or refurbishment project should flow out of a detailed analysis of the client’s work styles, organisational behaviours and psychological and physiological requirements. Roger Ulrich, considered one of the founders of the discipline in healthcare, pioneered research into the correlation between environment and patient welfare. He is quoted as saying, "We’re learning that when you use scientific evidence to drive the design of health care environments and processes, you can impact a wide variety of factors, from medical errors and nosocomial infections to stress and staff turnover.” (Bilchik G.S 2002) Colin Martin, in an article in The Lancet concurs,“The premise that physical environment affects patient well-being reflects common sense. Evidence-based design is poised to emulate evidence-based medicine as a central tenet for health care in the 21st century" (Martin, C., August 2000)Our literature review has involved a wide search of web-based articles and professional journals ranging from medicine, psychology and sociology to architecture and design. The basic hypothesis of my study is Happy staff = Happy patients. The patient experience of the healthcare environment is filtered through their relationship with the caregiver, therefore equal attention must be paid to the design of staff facilities. Questions asked: Is our concentration on the patient experience alienating staff in healthcare facilities? Is the focus on the public entrance and fa?ade, cosmetic and aesthetic taking too big a slice of our budget for healthcare buildings and are staff facilities being compromised, impacting on staff morale?As a result of the need for ethical approval from the various health boards, it was decided to use a descriptive methodology involving environmental quality assessment and user satisfaction studies. We are conducting a Post occupancy evaluation, developing and using the NHS Estates ‘Achieving Excellence Design Evaluation Toolkit’. Satisfaction questionnaires have been given to birthing mothers, birth partners, medical staff, midwives, hospital management and housekeeping/ancillary staff. The patient self-report forms are then correlated with their medical records to see whether there is any link between satisfaction with the interior environment and clinical outcomes. Focus groups and interviews will then take place to further discuss the issues raised in the questionnaires. We are currently analysing data from our pilot study at Forth Park Maternity Unit. Have received multi centre ethical approval for other sites, and are in the process of submitting R+D applications to the other sites. We have already conducted preliminary visits to three sites in the south of England and as at 31st January are in the process of customising the presentation of our questionnaires to suit the layout and type of maternity facilities involved. It is expected that the study will show that staff morale, job satisfaction and absenteeism rates are all positively impacted by perceived improvements in the working environment. The most positive response is expected from those staff members who feel a sense of ‘ownership’ of the design process and outcome, and a less positive response from those who feel new working practices are imposed on them. We have received funding for a three year research project from NHS Estates. "