DoH fails to consult PCTs on premises scheme

The DoH has spent months developing a £1 billion premises programme, without asking whether PCTs actually wanted to use it.

Express LIFT is a successor to the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme, which used public-private partnerships to build a new generation of surgeries in half of England's PCTs.

Under Express LIFT, contractors will be 'pre-approved' to build premises, speeding up the procurement process. The DoH says this would cut the process from two years to less than two months.

They add that the programme will be used by 'all PCTs who want to make use of it'.

The scheme has generated substantial interest in the construction industry, with 28 firms bidding for as few as six places on the final framework.

But correspondence between the DoH and PFI magazine Public Private Finance, obtained by GP, reveals that only three of the 75 eligible PCTs had confirmed that they were interested in using the new programme.

A DoH spokesman admitted: 'We did not carry out any survey in advance to ascertain interest. We have not collected data to enable us to know.'

A spokesman for Community Health Partnerships, the agency responsible for LIFT, said it had not formally gauged PCT interest levels. But 'anecdotally, we have found that many PCTs are interested in this method of procurement', he added.

GPC negotiator and premises spokesman Dr Peter Holden said: 'The DoH never bothered to ask the profession either.'

But he added the lack of consultation was not what put GPs off. 'The biggest problem GPs have got is that there is so much jargon that neither they nor the PCTs even understand,' he said.

The Express LIFT framework will be open to GPs once the approved list of six to 10 contractors has been chosen, early in 2009.

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...

Health worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI backs autumn COVID-19 booster campaign for high-risk adults and NHS staff

Frontline health and social care staff and adults at increased risk of severe illness...

GP consultation

Government accused of 'misleading' claims on general practice workforce

GP leaders have accused the government of making misleading claims about the general...

Consulting room door

LMC calls for enhanced access to be scrapped after abuse forces practice to close reception

A Midlands LMC has backed a practice forced to close its reception desk after abuse...