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How can I get new premises through LIFT?

From initial discussions with your PCT, to choosing an identify for your building, our expert takes you through the complete process of gaining a new LIFT building.

1. Begin exploratory discussions with local practices and the local Primary Care Trust, include local pharmacists and dentists.

2. Develop a practice and locality strategy that fits in with the overall service development plan for the PCT and SHA.

3. Find a lead person to drive the process through and seek funding support for this position

4. Present the business case as a team to key internal stakeholders, including a health impact assessment and benefits realisation analysis.

5. Build relationships with key personnel at PCT and local level.

6. Seek alliances with other organisations that may benefit of participate in a new development.

7. Develop a clear strategy for communications and what you are intending to develop.

8. Communicate with all stakeholders including workshops and joint interdisciplinary meetings, include clients and customers.

9. Work together with a small group of interested and committed stakeholders to move the project forwards.

10. Define the scope of the project clearly as far as possible in terms of outputs rather than seeking to define areas and work out room plans. Once the project is defined and proposed, flexibility to alter diminishes as you progress. Allow for flexibility in the design.

11. Work with your LIFT partner to select an architect. Consider competition. Emphasise the need for good design. Encourage exploration of options to enhance value, reduce costs and increase value for money.

12. Ensure local planning authorities are on board and seek their advice early on.

13. Clarify lease positions. Who will take head lease and who under-leases?

14. Ensure that all parties are signed up to progress so far.

15. Ensure that all parties who signed up at stage 4 will agree to pay costs of both Lease Plus Agreement (LPA) and service charge before Financial Close (FC).

16. Ensure all service stakeholders work with architects and service planners to ensure that the needs of each service are met.

17. Ensure Connection for Health (NHS IT Team) work alongside your PCT to ensure that there is an adequate IT infrastructure from the street in your premises and for future wireless technology.

18. Think about sustainability issues and draw on available grants. Make use of available advice resources such as SHINE (see Useful Organisations in ‘Help' section).

19. Include community space and expansion space in all premises.

20. Include provision for delivering new government initiatives such as Care Closer to Home, and Practice-based Commissioning and Providing.

21. Involve the Local Authority, Voluntary and Charity sectors in developing services.

22. An expanded primary care team may include finance, debt, welfare, employment and housing advice. Ensure that the premises will be able to host such outreach clinics. Discuss PCT support and matched funding.

23. Seek support from patient participation groups and community engagement teams which can help through collecting views, developing community participation, running information and café services using volunteers.

24. Define costings and agree space requirements, estimate service costs, and agree LPA with LIFTCo. But recognise that responsibility for functionality should largely remain with the LIFTCo.

25. Proceed to detailed design stage.

26. Progress design and understand that change to output requirements after this point can be costly and may be difficult to timetable.

27. Consider enlisting a graphic design team to assist with internal signage, website design and building identity.

28. Arts initiatives may enhance your premises. Consider where local schools, colleges and local authority arts officers may contribute.

29. Monitor detailed design for mechanical and engineering aspects impacting on security, ventilation, ease of access and use, alarms, out of hours use.

30. Develop simple house and building management policies to ensure efficient running and administration of the premises.

31. Work with partners to discuss and iron out any issues about shared reception interfaces and multitasking for existing staff.

32 Plan a smooth transition to new premises through detailed planning and buying support for the process.

The following 32 steps are from Community Health Partnerships publication ‘Future-proofing Care Outside Hospital'. Access the full document here:

Jason Marsh is Communications and Database Manager at Community Health Partnerships

New premises