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We have previously been told by our PCT that any new premises development would only be approved if undertaken by the local LIFT company. Is that still the case?


17 February 2011

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Answer:

Over recent months there has been much criticism of Private Finance Schemes (PFI) in general and the use of Local Improvement Finance Trusts (LIFT) in the NHS, effectively a variant form of PFI used in the health sector, in which some PCTs have formed long-term strategic partnerships with the private sector.

Answer:

Answer:

Over recent months there has been much criticism of Private Finance Schemes (PFI) in general and the use of Local Improvement Finance Trusts (LIFT) in the NHS, effectively a variant form of PFI used in the health sector, in which some PCTs have formed long-term strategic partnerships with the private sector.

Answer:

Over recent months there has been much criticism of Private Finance Schemes (PFI) in general and the use of Local Improvement Finance Trusts (LIFT) in the NHS, effectively a variant form of PFI used in the health sector, in which some PCTs have formed long-term strategic partnerships with the private sector.

A key element of NHS LIFT is that it gives private sector partners exclusivity over projects in a given PCT area over a 20-year period, although this has never extended to projects not being procured by the PCT such as purely GP led schemes. However, in practical terms some PCTs appear to have adopted a policy of only financially supporting new GP-led schemes if procured through their LIFT arrangements.

The effectiveness of NHS LIFT, despite its continued use as a form of procurement for new primary care facilities, has recently been called into question. In particular, many have focused upon the poor value for money, often lack of support from the local GP community and the lack of future flexibility, which LIFT appears to offer in comparison to other forms of procurement, such as GP-led or third party developments.

This is manifest in a number of PCTs, which had previously considered only LIFT procurement, seeming to effectively change policy and become more receptive and in some areas actively encourage GP-led schemes outside of LIFT, funded either through the GPs themselves or third-party developers.

At the same time the proposed abolition of PCTs and emergence of GP consortia under the current health reforms has raised further serious question marks as to the future of LIFT as a method of procurement. Paradoxically, this has led to a recent spurt of LIFT schemes being pushed through in some areas, as PCTs have acted in advance of support for such schemes being removed.

In summary, it will depend upon the individual PCT, but the landscape has undoubtedly changed and is continuing to do so. Therefore even if the answer has not changed today, it's likely to be only a matter of time.

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