The UK’s three leading primary care property investors have pledged over £3billion to support the development of the NHS’s primary care estate and meet recommendations set out in the Government backed Naylor Review. The Primary Care Buildings Pledge, made today by Primary Health Properties plc (PHP plc), Octopus Healthcare (Adviser to the MedicX Fund )and Assura plc, could fund as many as 750 state of the art primary care centres through 3rd party development (3PD) across the country over the next parliament.
Sir Robert Naylor, the government’s estates tsar, welcomed the pledge:
“It is encouraging to see the private sector step forward to play their part in meeting the recommendations set out in my review published earlier this year – with a credible plan and offer on the table for the NHS and Government to respond to.
“Investment to improve and grow a fit-for-purpose NHS estate is absolutely critical after years of underinvestment. Capital investment for refurbishments has tended to focus on big hospitals but it is crucial this is done in tandem with improvements to the primary care estate. Only with this will we have a system that treats people effectively in the community to prevent hospital admissions and further strain on already stretched secondary care services.
“The NHS needs a workable model for estates investment that sees genuine value delivered in the long-term – the 3PD proposition put forward is clearly a step in the right direction.”
In his review, Sir Robert Naylor argued that current investment levels are insufficient to fund the necessary transformation in care and maintain the NHS estate. He estimated that the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) required a capital investment of £10bn, and should be funded through a three way split of NHS property disposals, private capital investment (for primary care) and allocations from the Treasury.
The importance of a fit-for-purpose NHS estate was highlighted during the election with the recommendations of the Naylor Review endorsed in the Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto, where it promised the largest investment in buildings ever seen by the NHS.1 New facilities are vital for delivering the ambitions of the Five Year Forward View to grow the primary care workforce, extend access to general practice and to deliver a wider range of services closer to home for patients.
The group argues that the case for a private sector partnership to support the development of new primary care buildings is clear. According to a recent BMA survey, 40% of GPs feel their current facilities are inadequate for delivering services, 70% feel their premises are too small to deliver additional services and 52% said their premises had received no investment or refurbishment in the last 10 years.
The three investors are meeting with Government departments and NHS England to build a roadmap for collaboration with the Government so it can secure the future primary care infrastructure it needs.