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Phoenix in order

Securing capital funding for major estates plans has been an unenviable task in the NHS over the years.

But that job might get easier if the government approves a business case that would enable the NHS and private sector to set up joint ventures to deliver multimillion pound projects.

“Project Phoenix” would see six regional health infrastructure companies set up as the “delivery route” for trusts and sustainability and transformation partnerships’ estates transformation.

The plan came to light last year, but since then its implementation has been delayed – for reasons that have not yet been explained by Phoenix’s architects Community Health Partnerships.

Should the business case be approved, a bundle of capital projects in the South West and the Midlands will be first in the queue to be delivered through the new public/private partnerships.

Precisely how the cash raised from the ensuing land and property deals would be split between the NHS and private sector is yet to be clarified.

But with the health service’s estates tsar Sir Robert Naylor estimating that NHS land disposals could unlock up to £5.7bn of cash, there is likely to be great interest from the NHS and private sector in the project.

However, even if the business case is approved, Project Phoenix schemes are bound to face further hurdles from local campaign groups wary of much loved buildings being sold with the help of the private sector.