Health Service Focus

29.10.19

Developing estate to meet the needs of the NHS Long Term Plan

Source: NHE SEPT-OCT 19 

Dr Sue O’Connell, chief executive officer at Community Health Partnerships (CHP), discusses the readiness of out of hospital estate and its impact on realising the NHS Long Term Plan.

The NHS Long Term Plan describes an ambitious future for out of hospital care. At the heart of this vision is a shift towards more integrated local community services, supported and enabled by technology and focused on empowering people to stay healthy.

 This vision anticipates the availability of high-quality medical and social care services within  communities, and access to specialist services in hospital when needed. The readiness of the out of hospital estate to respond to this vision is at best variable, with extremes stretching from dilapidated, converted residential buildings to state of the art community facilities.

 The recent announcements of boosts to public capital to fund urgent infrastructure projects this year were a positive recognition of the need for investment in estate; they included £110m for primary care projects, which was particularly welcome, but fell far short of the level of investment needed.

 Investing in and transforming community-based infrastructure will support greater integrated care out of hospital, allowing patients to be treated in more appropriate settings and providing an enabling working environment for staff, while at the same time creating a sustainable NHS for future generations. As a former GP, this is very close to my heart and why I feel so positive about what we have achieved over the years at CHP working with the NHS and local authorities.

 More than 340 modern, well-maintained buildings have been developed in areas of high deprivation and health need across England.  This represents a total investment of more than £2.5bn.

 Many of the buildings provide a range of services and have been developed in conjunction with CCGs, GPs, trusts and local authorities to deliver real benefits to the whole of the community. The Gateway Centres in Salford, for instance, include libraries and advice services, police surgeries and access to careers advice and credit unions, as well as a range of NHS services, such as general practice, outpatient and rehabilitation services.

 CHP is head tenant in 307 of the buildings and constantly works to provide a quality service to tenants.  We have a strong commitment to improving utilisation of space to ensure that we optimise value for money and our dynamic capacity management model is demonstrating excellent visibility of actual utilisation to support positive improvements.

 CHP works with the local NHS to ensure the buildings are responsive to changing clinical models and we have undertaken a number of variations to the buildings to support this.

In just a few recent examples, we recently invested £300,000 of our capital to create five additional clinical rooms at Longhill Health Centre in Hull; and we are currently working at Beckenham Beacon in south east London to convert offices into clinical space to house mental health services.

 In Colchester, we supported the local health economy to develop a Health Campus by transferring services to the Colchester Primary Care Centre, reducing vacant space and delivering greater efficiency, and allowing the successful closure of an outdated hospital building and disposal of the land.

 There are still a number of challenges which face the development of infrastructure for integrated primary and community services. At CHP we work with our pre-procured supply chain, LIFT companies, based in local areas, to develop solutions and provide knowledge and expertise to support the development of an estate to meet the needs of the future and enable the ambitions of the Long-Term Plan to be realised.

For More Information

Tw: @CHP_estates

W: www.communityhealthpartnerships.co.uk

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