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Cutting LIFT funding not in our remit

Suggestions in your recent article on premises funding paint a thoroughly misleading and inaccurate picture of the role of the LIFT Council – and more generally, how the LIFT model can support the premises needs of GPs.

As the representative body for organisations involved in local improvement finance trusts, it is simply not within the LIFT Council’s remit to cut financial support for new builds.

We have no say at all in the quantum of funding allocated by public-sector organisations to new premises. Like you, we would be happy to see an increase in funding in this area.

However, in a financial climate in which the NHS is required to make unprecedented efficiency savings, it is not a wise strategy to simply sit back and wait for the financial taps to start to run again.

We need to recognise the parallel need to make best use of the existing estate, as Dr Peter Holden has noted, while we develop new or refurbish existing facilities to accommodate an increase in new local services.

This is where having a LIFT company as a partner is a real help to all those involved in primary and community care. Strategic, business and financial planning skills can be accessed via the LIFTCo to match GP clinical and commissioning skills.

This will lead to the development of proper business cases that demonstrate not only the patient benefits of new models of care which move care into more local settings, but also the totality of the clinical and non-clinical revenue effects of the change.

As a result of harnessing all these skills, there will be higher levels of investment in new and refurbished premises than would otherwise be the case.

So it is simply wrong to accuse us of something we cannot do and suggest we are unwilling to support new investment and new builds. This is misleading to GPs and damaging to the LIFT industry.

We look forward to demonstrating to all parties how we can build on over £2bn of investment and more than 265 premises developed that have already been achieved through the LIFT initiative.

From David Pokora, executive director, LIFT Council