Researchers have claimed NHS primary care trusts could save thousands of pounds if they managed partnerships with the private sector better.

According to a study funded by the NHS service delivery and organisation programme and carried out by York Management School, local improvement finance trust (LIFT) schemes currently offer poor financial returns, despite being part of a £1.5bn mechanism to improve primary care services in partnership with the private sector.

However, the research said LIFT schemes have the potential to offer a number of advantages, including in the construction and management of new facilities, if the partnerships are given sufficient guidance.

Professor Steven Toms, head of the York Management School, said: “Working with private sector providers offers potential benefits but as more of these partnerships are formed it will be increasingly important for the costs of such activities to be evaluated and controlled.”