Express LIFT 'to speed up builds'

The DoH has unveiled a new public-private partnership scheme for PCTs to improve their primary care buildings.

Express LIFT will allow PCTs to sign up to one of the lists of pre-approved contractors to build and manage new health buildings. It is a follow-up to the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme established in 2001.

The DoH says the use of approved contractors could cut procurement times from two years to a matter of weeks.

Mark Britnell, the DoH's director general of commissioning, said the programme would 'enable more PCTs and local authorities to take advantage of faster builds, improved working conditions for staff, and better facilities for the local community'.

He added that 'only the best companies' would be included in the framework.

LIFT buildings are 60 per cent owned by private investors. Only around half of England's PCTs were included in the original programme.

Express LIFT is expected to be open to the remainder from January 2009.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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