10th anniversary of NHS LIFT: Spotlight on Hull

As the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust celebrates its 10th anniversary, we look at the effect the programme has had in Hull

Marfleet Primary Health Care Centre was the first development to be completed, in 2005

The power of partnership was highlighted this week as the impact of investment into new healthcare facilities in Hull was thrown under the spotlight.

As England celebrates the 10th anniversary of the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT), Hull Citycare, one of 49 LIFT companies in the country, has published details of the effect the investment has had on local healthcare services.

The LIFT programme was set up to drive improvements in health service accommodation; improve working conditions and facilities for service providers; and create more flexible, futureproofed facilities to meet NHS standards.

Hull is like no other place. Our 9 by 6 mile ‘island’ has evolved differently, therefore solutions needed to be tailored

Nationally it has seen the development of 314 new facilities as well as creating employment opportunities for more than 30,000 people. This equates to around £2.2billion worth of capital, generating an estimated £1.13billion worth of business for SMEs.

In Hull more than £100m has been spent upgrading existing facilities and creating new modern fit-for-purpose health facilities.

This impact is outlined in The Power of Partnership: Life in Hill – The Story So Far, which charts the transformation of the area.

The 32-page document also shows that 1,200 full-time jobs have been created and patient access has been drastically improved, with 70% of residents now accessing community-based health services in up-to-date and welcoming facilities. In 2002, 85% of patients saw medical professionals in premises that did not meet current standards.

One of those was pensioner, Angela Flower, who said: “I’ve been with the same practice for over 50 years, but how things have changed for the better. I used to see my doctor in an old terraced house. The kitchen was the reception, the living room was the waiting area, and my doctor’s office was upstairs.”

When NHS LIFT was first launched, more than 75% of practices in Hull were more than 25 years old, most were substandard and GP recruitment was difficult.

The LIFT partnership plan for the area was to underpin the modernisation of primary, social and community care in the city, involving local people along every step of the journey. And this was in region that had some of the lowest literacy standards in the country, a lower than average life expectancy, and high teenage pregnancy rates.

Hull Citycare was launched in 2004 as a partnership between the now-defunct primary care trust, NHS Hull, and the Department of Health’s Community Health Partnerships, which both had a 20% stake in the organisation. Contractor, Sewell Group, and UME Group both have a 30% interest. Since the NHS reforms earlier this year, the PCT’s share has shifted to Community Health Partnerships.

The original aim was to deliver nine community healthcare hubs across the city supporting the delivery of improved primary care services while ensuring value for money and promoting service integration.

Chris Lewis, chairman of Hull Citycare, said: “Hull is like no other place. Our 9 by 6 mile ‘island’ has evolved differently, therefore solutions needed to be tailored.”

With a developer involved in the organisation, working with favoured architects, a relationship was created whereby the organisation identified the specific problems and set about creating a far-reaching masterplan to address them.

The Orchard Centre is an example of how energy-efficient buildings are helping to reduce the NHS carbon footprint

The resulting centres are: Marfleet Primary Health Care Centre, Newington Health Care Centre, Alexandra Health Care Centre, Park Health Care Centre, Longhill Health Care Centre, The Calvert Centre, Kingswood Parks Health Centre, Bilton Grange Health Centre, The Orchard Centre, Bilton Grange Pharmacy, Wilberforce Health Centre, Bransholme Health Centre, Elliott Chappell Health Centre, and Morrill Street New Green Surgery, creating nine hubs for patients.

“This is a real step forward for the area, for our patients living here and for the health professionals working within the buildings,” said Dr Tony Banerjee, chairman of the newly-formed NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group.

Alongside the development of the hubs, the £100m investment also includes adaptations of existing facilities an improvements to cater for new and evolving services.

Marfleet was the first facility to be developed, opening in 2005, and bringing together GPs, a pharmacy and a number of specialist clinics and community services including a library and ICT centre, under one roof.

Since opening it has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the local community, with the introduction of a sexual health clinic, dental practice, physiotherapy and counselling services.

Our vision is to achieve a healthier Hull. These buildings give us a great platform for the future. Each is easily accessible for residents and provides flexible space for the challenges ahead

Most of the buildings also feature energy-efficient technologies, driving down carbon emissions in line with tough government targets.

Mick Coxon, building manager at The Orchard Centre, said: “The great thing about the building is it’s extremely energy efficient, so instead of spending money on utilities, it goes in the public service pot. We have solar panels on the roof to heat the water, a rainwater harvesting system, automatic lighting and an atrium roof that lets in lots of natural light to reduce energy costs.”

So-called ‘intelligent building technologies’ have been a key factor in all the developments, enabling facilities managers to monitor and make variations to all heating and ventilation systems at any time, and from anywhere. They also keep track of temperatures and usage down to room level and can switch lights on and off on a zone-by-zone basis. Teams receive instant email alerts if there are technical issues and systems are backed up with uninterruptable power supplies.

Phase One of the programme is now complete, but Hull Citycare will continue to be at the forefront of health service delivery moving into the next phase of work.

Following the health service re-organisation exercise, new faces are joining the organisation. These include Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Kingston Upon Hull City Council, NHS England, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and the newly-formed NHS Property Services.

Emma Latimer, chief officer at NHS Hull CCG, said: “Our vision is to achieve a healthier Hull. These buildings give us a great platform for the future. Each is easily accessible for residents and provides flexible space for the challenges ahead.”

Click here to read the full report.

Wilberforce Health Centre

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