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LIFT extended to more improved healthcare facilites

01 August 2008

A new national framework procurement, Express LIFT has been launched by the Department of Health to extend access to the LIFT scheme, to all Primary Care Trusts who want to make use of it. Currently, about half of Primary Care Trusts in England benefit from LIFT, using it to build and finance new, modern GP surgeries, health centres and walk-in centres.

The national procurement framework will generate a list of approved private sector partners, each of whom will have demonstrated a track-record of delivering the services required of a successful LIFT Company. This includes providing strategic advice, design skills, management of a supply chain and an ability to obtain funding, whilst providing good value for money for the taxpayer. Trusts and local authorities will be able to select organisations from the framework to act as partners in their local LIFT schemes.

The framework should greatly accelerate the procurement process for infrastructure projects and vastly reduce costs to bidders compared to the current process, cutting the length of time for completion on bids to four to five months (depending on the number of bidders), with local procurements from the framework able to be completed within about four to six weeks rather than two years as is currently the case.

Mark Britnell, Director General, Commissioning and System Management at the Department of Health said:

"LIFT has proved highly successful, allowing Trusts to upgrade inadequate or ageing facilities around the country and address the historic legacy of underinvestment in NHS primary care facilities.

"Allowing the LIFT scheme to rapidly expand will enable more Primary Care Trusts and local authorities to take advantage of its benefits - faster builds, improved working conditions for staff, better care environments for patients, and better overall facilities available for the local community.

"Only the best companies will make it onto the framework list and we know that private sector developers will welcome this development, both because of the potential future work and the quicker and cheaper procurement process."

The LIFT programme was established in 2001. It was developed because previous investment in primary and social care had been poor and piecemeal, resulting in facilities that were old, frequently converted from other uses and not designed to deliver integrated services. Under the initiative, a series of long-term public/private partnerships have been set up between Primary Care Trusts, local authorities and the private sector to provide modern, purpose-built facilities. Private sector partners benefit from long-term relationships and a steady flow of work.

It is expected that Primary Care Trusts will be able to use the new scheme from January 2009.

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