IN a 2030 GP practice patients may check-in on screen then use the garden, glass pods and other areas until they are called via an app to their doctor.

These features are part of a visionary project by Wilderspool-based healthcare property company Assura, to explore surgery design of the future.

It looks at how primary care’s use of technology will shift the way buildings are designed, with the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan likely to influence the way centres look and operate.

The building will be designed around both remote video consulting and face-to-face appointments, incorporating point-of-care diagnostics so patients make fewer journeys for further tests.

Digital media throughout the building will help staff share information and patients to feel calm. Patients will also be able to access NHS health apps on tablets, while a ‘check out’ screen will automatically send their appointment and prescription details to mobile devices.

Simon Gould, Assura’s head of development, said: “In the coming decades, surgery building design will have to reflect the way primary care is using technology.

“As elements like remote consultation and point of care diagnostics become more familiar, they will change the way GPs and their teams use their space.

“There’s huge opportunity for the building design to work with technology to help teams to be flexible.

“This specific design wouldn’t work everywhere: primary care premises must be right for the communities they serve. But many of the principles reflect the experiences the NHS wants us all to have as patients.

“By the time we get to 2030, this initial design may be old news but today, we hope it at least acts as a starting point for conversations, ideas and innovation: how will primary care, tech and design combine?”

Assura commissioned the design after exploring some of the key technologies already being adopted by primary care.

The design forecasts that future healthcare buildings will have diagnostic wings with MRI scanner, CT and even artificial intelligence technology capabilities, to support primary care in offering a greater range of services closer to home.

Further innovative design will see external consulting rooms where at the touch of a button the glass can be made opaque for privacy, smaller consulting rooms for video appointments and shared examination and treatment areas to make the most effective use of space.