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'Expensive' LIFT faces failure

NHS LIFT is in danger of failing because it is more expensive than other methods of de-

veloping GP premises, an influential committee of MPs has concluded.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee argues that LIFT must guarantee a 'continuous flow of projects' in order to succeed.

But the extra expense involved in building the premises and funding higher rents meant there was a risk this may not happen, it said.

The report also concluded that the high cost of LIFT caused cuts in spending on other

primary care premises and

services.

In Newham, 9 per cent of patients were with GPs in LIFT premises but 30 per cent of

funding went on those practices.

MPs criticised restrictive LIFT contracts, under which even minor alterations such as putting up a noticeboard could only be carried out with the agreement of the LIFT company.

Returns for LIFT companies could be seen as high compared with the risks taken by the private firms getting involved, the committee concluded.

Dr Ruban Prasad, a former member of the GPC premises subcommittee and chair of South Lancashire LMC, said LIFT probably did not represent value for money, but many GPs had little option but to use it.

He added: 'GPs have to be realistic – you are very unlikely to get any money from the Department of Health or the PCT.'

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