Barnsley Hospital NHS FT

Clinical Decisions Unit, Emergency Dept., Barnsley Hospital

A place of calm away from the main department

The Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) at Barnsley Hospital is a refurbishment designed by The Manser Practice Architects, with Art in Site providing interior art and design in the form of wall colours and large-scale photography.


This ten-bed unit provides provides treatment and overnight care for patients before they are either transferred to the main hospital or discharged. Incoming patients at the CDU will have been processed through the emergency department – a stressful experience for many that can incorporate multiple procedures.

In our conversations with clinicians, we heard a need for the environment to provide a sense of calm and sanctuary away from the business of the rest of the department. Much of their language was naturalistic, comparing CDU to a “glade” or “backwater”.



We therefore decided to integrate large naturalistic imagery of light and shade among trees, plants and flowers, in order to evoke a feeling of safety and shelter. We also employed different images on walls and bedheads to help (often exhausted or disorientated) patients to orientate themselves easily around the department.