Maximize capital investment in community diagnostic centers

The recent publication of the NHS delivery plan to tackle the COVID-19 elective care backlog highlighted £2.3bn to help increase the volume of diagnostics activity, as key component of many elective care pathways. The ambition to provide a network of more than 100 Community Diagnostic Centers (CDCs) across England will bring testing closer to home, improve access and reduce patient waiting times. There is a significant opportunity to transform the delivery of elective care by expanding and separating the capacity of elective and diagnostic services. It is crucial that the NHS maximizes the value of every book.

Community Health Partnerships (CHP), as an NHS company, sees great value in using the existing NHS fleet to meet this national imperative. CHP is responsible for over 300 healthcare properties across England, delivered through the NHS LIFT scheme. These are high quality and accessible local health infrastructure assets currently available to the NHS. Historically, they were developed in areas with high health needs and deprivations.

As leaders in shaping the care environment for local services, our goal is to work in partnership within integrated systems of care to provide facilities solutions. We can provide NHS organizations with rapid access to modern space tailored to their needs, through flexible occupancy models, value-for-money rates supported by our partnership philosophy and turnkey approach to end to end.

Our partnership and speed of delivery is demonstrated at Finchley Memorial CDC in North Central London, an early adoption site which opened in July 2021. Highlighted as a case study in the delivery plan of the NHS, CHP worked with North Central London Integrated Care System, as lead. commissioners and the Royal Free London as host trust, along with North London Estates Partnerships to design and deliver one of the country’s first CDCs to Finchley Memorial Hospital.

Finchley Memorial Hospital is a public-private partnership (PPP) asset of the CHP. The local health system recognized that with some minor adaptations, it could quickly be established as a CDC, with benefits for patients and staff being quickly realized. This is just one of many similar opportunities we identify in the existing community portfolio. We know we can help the NHS meet the challenge of elective care capacity through our estate. We recently completed detailed work on available space across our 310 healthcare facilities, including compiling comprehensive data on available space and areas that could be reallocated to meet national and local needs.

As ICS and healthcare providers assess options for locating CDCs, it should be remembered that CHP PPP buildings are part of the ongoing running costs of the NHS. Therefore, there is greater value in utilizing existing assets that are maintained to year one standard without overdue maintenance. With CHP’s delivery capabilities and secure supply chain, we can respond quickly to feasibility and tailoring requests. In many cases, we can potentially have a local CDC up and running in 6-12 months.

For the past 20 years, we have helped NHS partners achieve better health outcomes through the development of the NHS Community Estate, investing in buildings at the heart of local communities. We believe these buildings are ideally placed to meet the challenge of resuming elective care. Our regional directors and local teams are already working closely with ICS, real estate forums and NCPs.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about opportunities and work in progress in your area.