The New Health Precinct Paradigm

Australia’s major urban areas and the way land uses are arranged are evolving.  Our economy is growing more dependent on jobs which are about ideas and problem solving, with the large increases in employment being those that require higher level qualifications. One industry where this change has been profound is Health Care and Social Assistance. Of the 19 standard industry divisions, the largest employer of workers in Australia is now the Health Care and Social Assistance Industry.  In 2011, this industry employed 1,167,000 of Australia’s 10 million workers nationwide (11.6% of all workers). This was up by 211,000 in the five years to 2011 to be more than 100,000 higher than Retail Trade, the next largest industry group.

The significant increase in Health Care employment represents both the continuing shift from primary and secondary industries to the service industry sector, and the continued ageing of the population. The table below shows the number of people employed within each class of employment within the Health Care and Social Assistance industry division. 2011 Census data shows that the largest employing class is Hospitals, followed by the Aged Care and Residential Service and Other Social Assistance Services classes respectively.

Health Precinc 1

Health Care and Social Assistance is a complex industry, and significantly more that than just hospitals and primary health care. It is a multi-faceted structure which incorporates public and private providers, settings, participants and supporting industries and businesses.

Overall, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry is primarily knowledge-intensive.  The way in which Health Care knowledge is generated, stored and shared is changing the industry’s structure. Research indicates that there are five major trends that will drive the transformation and structure of the health care industry. These include; technology and digitisation; enterprise consolidation; globalisation and service exports; chronic disease and new models of care; and clustering.

MacroPlan appreciates the role that each of these factors is having on Health Care as well as other industry divisions. It is important to appreciate these trends in considering how to design a successful modern health precinct. While there may not be magic formula in terms of the right configurations of floorspace or the perfect mix of uses, there is a process which should be adopted which can serve to accelerate health precinct’s development timeline.  Identifying major catalyst tenants, potential specialisation opportunities, defining precinct requirements, and establishing branding and governance structures are all important parts of this process.

MacroPlan continues to undertake a considerable amount of work in researching these trends. Clustering in particular, has become a key focus with its central role in defining health hubs or precincts. MacroPlan has undertaken detailed analysis of health precincts. From within Australia, learnings from leading precincts such as Westmead Precinct, Queen Elizabeth II Health Precinct, Parkville, PAH & Ecosciences Precinct have been detailed. And from abroad insights from McGill University Health Centre, University of Toronto, Discovery District, Illinois Medical District, University of California San Francisco many more have been gathered. Whilst not a new phenomenon, clustering and opportunities to create new precincts is increasing on the back of significant increases in the knowledge economies.  These are places where knowledge jobs can be concentrated in central areas, powered by the benefits of agglomeration.

Ecoscience_Precinct_1 (1)Agglomeration of services within clusters can provide significant productivity enhancements. These come about through proximity which facilitates efficient use of knowledge intensive labour and capital. Notably, agglomeration represents an opportunity for improved levels of access to suppliers, labour and information.

Across Australia and internationally, competition to develop new and to re-position existing hubs is driving the need to understand what represents best practice for health precincts.  MacroPlan is at the cutting edge of this field of research. If you would like to know more, please contact General Manager of our Queensland office, Mark Courtney.

About the author:

Mark Courtney General Manager – Queensland

Mark Courtney is MacroPlan’s General Manager – Queensland.  Mark’s is an accomplished property professional whose experience uniquely positions him to provide leadership in property research and consultancy. He has considerable experience in the analysis and development of Australia’s industrial property sector, as well as extensive market trend analysis, feasibility assessment and land demand and supply modelling expertise.

About MacroPlan: MacroPlan’s experienced and qualified economists align their understanding of macro-economic forces with micro-economic variables such as geographic and industrial characteristics, demographics, labour market shifts, resource demand and commercial realities.  Contact Mark Courtney, General Manager – Queensland, today to discuss your property research requirements.