'A hospital in the shape of a starfish?' Nick Ferrari quizzes Lord Wolfson on £250K economics prize

31 August 2021, 10:09

By Tim Dodd

Next boss Lord Wolfson explains his £250,000 Wolfson economics prize which has an A&E Doctor and starfish-shaped hospital proposals among its entries in an attempt to improve hospitals.

Lord Simon Wolfson is a businessman & Chief Executive of Next, which has collaborated with Policy Exchange for the 2021 Wolfson Economics Prize.

The Wolfson Economics Prize is a £250,000 economics prize and the second largest economics prize in the world after Nobel.

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Mr Wolfson told Nick Ferrari: "We've had everyone from architects through to medical students, patients, clinicians, from all over the world enter the prize.

"What we've ended up with is very interesting approaches to new hospitals, all of which have a huge amount of merit.

Mr Wolfson explained some of the entries are focused on "the way that hospitals look and feel."

"The idea that when you go into a place, how comfortable you are, the sort of views you have, how much green you see - all of that can affect both the way you feel and the speed at which you recover," he said.

"Other contestants are focused on the sorts of things that can be done to improve the materials that are used to build hospitals to prevent infection, the flow of patients, the different transport systems - both human and robotic - to move patients, tests and materials around hospitals."

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Nick asked: "A hospital in the shape of a starfish? That's an eye-catching idea isn't it."

Mr Wolfson replied: "The way people move around a hospital is incredibly important in ensuring that people are treated quickly, efficiently - that they don't end up in a situation that I experienced in a hospital."

Mr Wolfson explained he was being "wheeled to a theatre in a lift" and was sharing it with people visiting their elderly grandparents, something he claims should be "designed out" of hospitals.

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