Nelson Health Centre

Drivers of change

As a NHS Company working in partnership with local health and care systems to provide innovative and sustainable spaces for patient care we keep a keen eye on what is influencing the use of the healthcare estate, now and into the future.  Along with workforce and digital, the estate is a key enabler to improving service delivery and ultimately patient care and outcomes.  

We work with policy makers and national leaders to shape the care environment of the future.

The NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) sets out an ambitious 10-year agenda for change across the NHS in England. The aim is to deliver a new service model for healthcare and strengthen the contribution to the prevention of illness and addressing health inequalities.

Based on the experiences of patients and staff it set out a blueprint to make the NHS fit for the future, and to get the most value for patients out of every pound of taxpayers’ investment. It set out a new service model for the 21st Century which boosts ‘out of hospital’ care and the integration of primary and community health. It introduced Primary Care Networks and Integrated Care Systems with increased focus on population health. It emphasised the importance of digitally-enabled care.

For primary and community care it proposed a transformation in services, providing more co-ordinated delivery, offering patients more choice, better support and properly joined-up care at the right time and in optimal care settings. The ambition is to avoid up to a third of outpatient appointments, saving patients 30 million trips to hospital.

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are central to this transformation. They will drive change and collaboration across General Practice to rise to the demands on primary care and extend the range of local services by creating integrated teams of GPs, community health and social care staff.

The estate is a key enabler to primary care transformation, acting as a catalyst for changing the way services are delivered locally and support greater care in community-based settings. Integrated primary care provision needs modern, efficient buildings equipped with the latest technology to support the development and expansion of services. Evidence tells us that building quality is positively correlated to staff morale, retention and patient experience.

The future estate must evolve in line with service developments. The buildings need to be reliable and well maintained with the capacity to cope with future demands.

The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Delivery plan for tackling the Covid-19 backlog of elective care (2022) set out a progressive agenda for how the NHS will recover elective care performance over the next three years. It set out how the NHS intends to increase elective care capacity. How it will transform the elective care provision through initiatives such as expanding community diagnostics centres and surgical hubs.

To reinforce the strategic importance the Government has set up an Elective Recovery Taskforce to help the NHS deliver on waiting list targets. This aligns to the Health and Social Care Secretary’s  announcement in mid-November of his five key priorities for the months ahead which included: focusing on recovery plans across electives, urgent and emergency care and improving access to primary care.

Community Diagnostic Centres

There are more than seven million people currently waiting for treatment in England. While the Elective Recovery Taskforce will unlock additional capacity in the private sector, across England, Community Diagnostic Centres have been addressing the wait for tests, checks and scans. This is an important part of the elective care pathway. There are 91 CDCs open and they have delivered more than 2.4 million tests, checks and scans since summer 2021. In September 2022, according to the Government, the hubs delivered 11% of all diagnostic activity – and its ambition is for 40% to be achieved by 2025. 

The community based estate, including the NHS LIFT estate has a vital role to play by providing space for CDCs.  Many of the LIFT buildings already accommodate at least one type of diagnostic service with the potential for more through improved utilisation and repurposing of space.

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