“The new normal”, “during these times”, “you’re on mute”…three phrases that perfectly capture 2020 and yet don’t come close to reflecting the gravity of the events that popularised their use. No other year in all of MJ Medical’s 33 is comparable in terms of the complete inversion of human experience and activity across the globe. The wide spread damage caused by the first year of Covid-19, to societies, to businesses, to families, and to people, is truly epoch defining. Thankfully, at the time of writing, the effect of the pandemic on the MJ Medical team and our families has been significant but not tragic. The company was in a strong position at the start of the outbreak and we were able to quickly respond to fast changing events, keeping our team safe and continuing to support our partners and clients in the projects we were working on.
We are extremely lucky, and extremely thankful, that Covid-19 has not negatively impacted on activity in our specific corner of the economy – in fact quite the reverse. Even not-withstanding our work on some of the Nightingale Hospitals, the quickening of pace on the Health Infrastructure Programme (HIP) 1 and 2 projects has meant this has been unequivocally the busiest year we have ever had. Our team has grown in number by over 30% with more recruitment currently taking place, we have added significant new healthcare design capabilities to our suite of services (more of which to be announced in the New Year), and the number of hospital development projects we have worked on over the last year is at an all-time high. The HIP programme looks set to keep us busy over the long-term and, given our work to date and the breadth of services we offer, we will likely end-up working on most of the 40 or so projects included.
Whilst the HIP programme was desperately needed prior to the pandemic, Covid-19 increased both the extent and urgency of the change required. Many Trusts are racing forward with business cases for their capital development plans in order to try and secure allocation from a limited pot of funds. Time pressures and the capacity constraints of the industry helping them has meant that, in some cases, those plans have not been undertaken in an optimum way, ignoring the essential task of situating new hospital developments in a wider systemic planning and development exercise. Digitisation presents the opportunity to locate more care in community and even home-based settings – what we have learned from Covid-19, and what we know about maximising efficiency and quality of healthcare, compels us to do so. Planning hospitals with this in mind requires engagement and coordination with other local and regional care providers; those HIP projects that have lacked this holistic approach may need to be revised in order to be fit for purpose in a future NHS landscape structured around Integrated Care Systems.
The NHS as a whole has faced unprecedented pressure, and will continue to do so for some time. It is safe to say it has risen to meet that challenge, and it is tempting to think that as a result of this it will cease to be a political football, kicked back and forth through constant reorganisation and periodic financial attrition depending on the direction of the political and economic winds. If this does come to pass it will be a huge positive to emerge from 2020. Regardless, the public view of the NHS as a strategically important national asset has been solidified, and many long-standing debates over financing and privatisation have potentially been settled for a generation.
We finish the year with the roll-out of a vaccine, and a glint of light that at some point in the near future the world will open up, hopefully not to go back to the way things were before, but to strive to be much better. Looking forward to 2021 here at MJ Medical, we will be working on getting many major hospital projects off the ground with our health planning and design services, and helping many major ones to completion and opening with our equipment procurement and commissioning services. Our continued focus will be on the health and wellbeing of our team and their families, delivering high quality services to our clients and partners, and doggedly pursuing improvement in what we do and how we do it. We are pleased to be able to say MJ Medical is in extremely good health, and we look forward to the future in anticipation of opportunities for partnerships, growth, and delivering good work. In the meantime, we take heed of the hope that better times lay ahead, and find strength and fortitude in that promise.
Director – MJ Medical