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Premises are bad, but will get a faceLIFT

You recently highlighted the importance of continued investment in healthcare facilities to ensure their ongoing suitability for purpose (‘Premises left to crumble as PCTs scrap upgrades').

Many health facilities remain located in premises not originally designed for healthcare, despite the significant provision of new build facilities and upgrades over the last decade. Many are in a very poor condition and there is still much to be done. The delivery of healthcare from purpose-built estate is the way forward. The recent Rassell Review conducted for the Department of Health concluded: ‘The majority of the LIFT buildings that had been built were to a standard and quality not experienced before in primary care.'

The phasing out of below-standard premises will be slowed by the expected cutbacks in public spending. But this only increases the value of initiatives such as LIFT, which uniquely ensures facilities are strategically developed, service-led and properly maintained.

While the article suggested a recent fall in LIFT investment, it did note more than £1.7bn has already been invested in LIFT schemes, resulting in creation of more than 220 facilities – not bad for six years of activity. The article failed to mention though that a further £2bn has been earmarked for future investment.

The onus must be on PCTs (supported and encouraged by GPs) to use LIFT, as the most successful alternative to public funding and as a vehicle of partnership, regeneration and strategic estate planning.

From Chris Whitehouse, chair, the LIFT Council

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