A new national delivery mechanism for Primary Health Care
In July 2000
the Government published the NHS Plan which included a major commitment to a new
programme of investment in primary and community healthcare facilities, to be
known as NHS LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust). Primary Care had seen
extremely low levels of investment for many years, and the NHS Plan committed to
delivering 500 new one-stop centres; and substantially improve 3000 GP
represented a major step change in the level of investment activity that would
reverse the historic under-investment in primary care, it was not yet clear how
this was to be delivered.
initiative had very clear objectives: immediate investment to meet the NHS Plan
targets; and an approach that could deliver investment over a protracted period,
on the basis of agreed strategic planning at a local level.
(PUK) started working with the Department of Health (DH), to set up a delivery
mechanism for the NHS LIFT programme. After many months of evaluation of options
and development of potential models, a new national delivery vehicle,
Partnerships for Health
(PfH), was set up as a joint venture between DH and PUK. A programme
of investment, in 42 localities, over three phases, would be delivered in each
area by a new form of Public Private Partnership - a LiftCo. Each LiftCo is a
joint venture between the local Primary Care Trusts, PfH and a private sector
partner selected out of open competition.
enter a long-term strategic partnership with Primary CareTrusts (PCTs), giving
them exclusivity to develop and deliver future schemes in response to local
health priorities and strategies. The exclusivity is conditional on showing
value for money on each scheme, with the PCTs having the right to go elsewhere
if value for money was not shown.
A key challenge
was to develop a new market of potential suppliers to meet the LIFT investment
requirements. A managed programme, comprising small deals that aggregated to a
very substantial investment opportunity, enabled PfH to attract and develop
sufficient private sector capacity to deliver the programme.
By Spring 2005,
the establishment of the LiftCos and the procurement for the three phases of
projects was substantially complete. The success of NHS LIFT and PfH was
recognised by the Government and a fourth phase of further investment was
backed by the original shareholders of DH and PUK, is increasingly becoming an
investment business, supporting over 40 local LiftCos as they deliver much
needed investment in local primary healthcare facilities.