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Express LIFT fails to take off as just one PCT signs up

By Ian Quinn

A Government scheme aimed at massively speeding up funding of new GP premises has so far been taken up by just a single PCT, Pulse can reveal.

No new premises are yet being built through the Express LIFT scheme, launched in March last year, the Department of Health has admitted.

The revelation comes just two weeks after a Pulse investigation revealed the dire state of investment in primary care premises - with upgrades being cancelled because of the economic crisis.

Express LIFT was supposed to create a national list of firms who could be procured for projects in as little as two months, rather than the nearly two years typical of LIFT public-private partnerships.

So far just one Express LIFT company has been set up, by Cumbria PCT, said the DH.

‘No premises have yet been completed under Express LIFT but these are very encouraging signs of its use at this early stage,' said a spokesperson who added a ‘number of other PCTs' are also considering using it.

Bob Senior, director of medical services at accountancy firm Tenon, said many GPs were struggling to get funding for new projects: ‘There are going to be a lot of very frustrated GPs out there.'

The new Government premises scheme, Express LIFT, has failed to take off