Debbie Cragg on why it’s more important than ever to address the under use of NHS estate

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Fareham Community Hospital is at the forefront of our drive to make best use of our NHS buildings, benefitting patients and taxpayers alike. The Naylor Review, and government response to it, has brought into sharp focus the importance of making good use of NHS estate, and that it is fundamental to the delivery of high quality patient care.

As guardians of the NHS LIFT estate, we have the opportunity, free of the burden of backlog maintenance, to proactively address the under use of some of the health service’s finest facilities.

Until mid last year, services at Fareham Community Hospital used just 40 per cent of this modern health facility, built in 2010 for £10 million. Now, occupancy has doubled; more services are being delivered and more patients are being treated, which is great news for this community.

Flexible use of space

How did it happen? The local CCG agreed to adapt the paying arrangements, which simplifies billing and increases flexibility in the use of space through the creation of leased and bookable space. This opened up access for all occupants, as well as other services to use the space, bookable via our online portal, TAP. This meant the building could respond to new models of care locally and become a hub for the community.

Early feedback has been positive but it needs commitment from all parties to shift the mindset around property management

This was underpinned by a strong collaborative approach between head tenant, the commissioner, providers and local stakeholders.

Community Health Partnerships, which manages the facility for the NHS, is working with other NHS partners to roll out its dynamic capacity management approach to other premises across its portfolio. Early feedback has been positive but it needs commitment from all parties to shift the mindset around property management.

To enable this innovation in property management we have introduced our centre management service. A skilled and knowledgeable presence on the ground that enhances tenants’ experience, helping to get the most out of the facilities we have and ensures that patients benefit from the best infrastructure available in the NHS.

We are investing in Wifi and other technology to enable new ways of working and gathering data to increase usage and to monitor it. It’s all part of CHP’s mission to ensure that the NHS can make the most of its existing estate before thinking of building anything new.

 

NHS estate management must be more dynamic