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The NHS LIFT Programme

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Established in 2001, the LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) programme has brought about the largest and most concentrated investment by the NHS and the private sector in the primary healthcare and community estate across England.

It has been purposefully designed to support better patient outcomes, make services more accessible for those in greatest need, and provide modern, purpose-built environments for staff.

The 350 integrated health, community and wellbeing schemes delivered by the NHS LIFT Programme support community-based healthcare and wellbeing and the integration of local services for the benefit of patients.

Nearly 9 in every 10 LIFT projects are in areas with above average health needs.

A comprehensive piece of research commissioned in 2014 (Amion Report), demonstrated that:

  • The LIFT Programme has driven a significant improvement in the quality of health service accommodation, improving working conditions and facilities for a wide range of service providers. Outmoded and inadequate premises have been replaced with high quality, flexible accommodation conforming to NHS standards.
  • LIFT projects have played a key role in providing modern and flexible facilities necessary to meet the diverse health and wellbeing needs of disadvantaged, ethnically-mixed and often rapidly changing populations.
  • LIFT has brought care closer to patients and integrated a greater range of services under one roof, in better environments. It has also facilitated other programmes aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles and more outpatient activity.
  • 9 out of 10 LIFT buildings were in areas with more than average health needs.
  • 40% of investment was in the 10% most deprived local communities.
  • In 10 years, LIFT developments provided employment opportunities for 30,000 people.
  • £1.3bn was injected into the SME sector.
  • 80% of construction spend was with local businesses.

Each LIFT building is embedded in its own community. They include:

Quality, modern clinical space – home to over 1,300 tenants, including GP and primary care practices and 136 NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts.

Eight health and wellbeing centres which include leisure facilities.

45 integrated centres, of which 27 include libraries and 21 have local authority services.

12 community hospitals across England and the £50m Birmingham Dental Hospital and Dental School.

More than 900 housing units delivered through partnerships with registered providers and national house builders.


LIFT companies are Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) with 40% public: 60% private ownership. CHP is the 40% shareholder on all but seven LIFT companies where 10 local authorities – Manchester, Salford, Trafford, Leeds, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Nottingham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Newham – are also shareholders.  Any surplus made by CHP is reinvested into the health system via the Department of Health and Social Care.

NHS LIFT space (clinical and administrative) can and is regularly altered to respond to commissioning plans and tenants’ needs through variations, extensions and refurbishments. CHP will work with LIFT companies to deliver these for the health system.

This co-location of a range of service providers in one building has enabled better service integration and, in turn, facilitated improved joint working as well as better integration of primary and secondary care and specialist services. It has also helped reduce unnecessary hospital appointments and allowed more efficient referrals, avoiding people getting lost in the system.

The Impact of the Local Improvement Finance Trust programme, Amion Consulting, 2013