Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



HefmA National Chair, Paul Fenton, shared the stage with Julian Amey

HefmA National Chair, Paul Fenton, shared the stage with Julian Amey, Chief Executive of IHEEM - at the recent Healthcare Estates conference in Manchester to outline the latest phase of co-operation between the two organisations in driving the Carter PEP programme.

Fenton reminded the audience of the scale of the challenges, saying that the NHS has around 1,200 hospitals and some 3,000 other treatment facilities. He demonstrated the now familiar anomalies around costs in the management of services, particularly cleaning and catering, and emphasised that it was positive that already these anomalies had led to questions being posed around the reasons for some of the big differences that have been revealed.

Since Peter Sellars, Head of Profession, NHS Estates and Facilities Policy NHS England for the Department of Health and newly appointed IHEEM President first approached HefmA and IHEEM in September 2015 about joining forces to drive this programme, considerable progress has been made. Both Associations have been engaging and collaborating with Trusts through branch activity around the country. Special interest groups have been established - for instance, strong energy sub groups - case studies have been generated and shared and regional educational events have been held. Four regional events have been attended by every Trust in the country except one - David Williams – Director General of Finance, Department of Health- had already mentioned this statistic in his keynote address to the conference. The challenge to this Trust is to step forward and start to engage.

Engagement of less senior staff is a key factor in this whole process, in order to encourage workforce sustainability. Succession planning in the NHS hasn't been good, said Fenton. "We absolutely have to nail this," he stressed. "Initiatives like apprenticeships do work."

Now that the engagement phase of the PEP programme is largely complete, the next stage is to focus on several projects:

  • The development of a HefmA/IHEEM Knowledge Information Portal through the websites for ease of access
  • Assist in the development of the Model Hospital, which is core to the success of the entire programme and to get this right is therefore essential
  • Support the development of the Internet of Things
  • Further analysis of ERIC
  • Assist in the development of the Integrated Performance Framework (IPF) as part of the Model Hospital
  • Peer review of PAM

Further expansion of joint working will focus on people development and training with the introduction of a new piece of software to work through the websites so that anyone interested in a career within the NHS can click the link to explore the opportunities and find out more. "It is crucial to invest in the future," said Fenton.

Within a relatively short period of time the engagement between the Department of Health, HefmA and IHEEM is already bringing benefits to the sector. Fenton's summing up echoed the three key priorities already pinpointed by David Williams: getting the basics right, supporting the drive for transformation and building for the future.

Earlier in the day, David Williams had been frank with his overview of the work the NHS needs to do and the results it needs to deliver in the next few years. "It is not going to be easy," he said, a sentiment that every NHS professional must relate to.

Williams described his job as being to ensure the health department delivers the services needed by patients making best use of the taxpayers' money. His first priority is to get the health service out of deficit - or at least to a point where being in deficit is not the norm - followed by a focus on productivity and finally a move towards service improvement and transformation.

It is going to be important, he stressed, to set clear targets and have an ambition to aim towards.  Improving data, benchmarking and standardising are all going to be important processes contributing to the NHS Estates & Facilities delivering the required efficiencies and savings.

Of the potential savings uncovered by the Carter report, £1bn is expected to come from Estates. Delivery on this, said Williams, means hard work for estates, which will require consistent, persistent, hard slog, at local levels, to embed these hard tools at the grass roots, with Trust leadership and national support.

For a full review of this event, see the November/December issue of Pulse.