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NHS continues to face major estate and asset challenges, says Currie & Brown

09-Jul-2013

The National Health Service must continue to find innovative procurement solutions to achieve efficiencies and deliver savings to meet financial constraints, according to the leading asset management consultancy, Currie & Brown.

Its analysis of the health sector relates to both capital spend and maintenance of hospitals, primary care, and other health facilities across the UK.

The company, which provides “smart procurement” solutions that reduce capital expenditure and ongoing maintenance costs for the NHS, is currently project-managing the £1 billion New South Glasgow Hospitals project. This is the largest phase of a 10-year acute services review programme that includes the provision of some 1,100 adult and 250 children’s beds with major support facilities.

At a time when there are financial constraints in new spending, the NHS in England has backlog maintenance costs of £5.3 billion across the existing estate. In Scotland, similar backlog costs amount to nearly £950 million.

“The NHS will have to continue to make best use of available investment and this means that large-scale efficiencies must be achieved through service re-configuration and best use of the resultant asset base,” commented James Hackett, director of Currie & Brown with responsibility for healthcare projects.

“Significant strides have been taken in reducing costs and improving efficiency in the NHS since 2009,” commented James Hackett. “However, the fact remains that there are still major savings to be made, in reconfiguring both the service offering and the scale of the estates portfolio – some of which are inappropriate for service delivery.

“Everyone wants a successful and sustainable NHS, but the fact is that to achieve this involves making difficult and often unpopular decisions, for example the re-configuration of acute hospital services to enable investment in more local primary care and community services. The current phase of the New South Glasgow Hospitals project is the latest example of the major re-configuration of services.

“Optimising the use of property assets while making new investment and at the same time tackling backlog costs is a major challenge and one that has to be achieved if we are to meet future demand.”

Currie & Brown utilises proven systems and processes to help health authorities to plan capital spending effectively. Hackett says that this approach – which involves a whole system approach to service planning and an assessment of the whole life of buildings and other assets – can save as much as £35 million in an acute programme, and £5 million in a primary care setting.

The company adopted this approach in the acute service services review in Greater Glasgow.

ENDS

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