Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



My door is open to ideas

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, Lord O'Shaughnessy, says it is no longer an opportunity for healthcare Estates and Facilities professionals to become involved in the strategic challenge of change for the NHS ... it is a "responsibility."

The comments were made in a keynote address to delegates at the Healthcare Estates conference last week (October 11), at which the Junior Health Minister, who is also Chair of the new Estates Programme Board, invited the interjection of ideas from EFM professionals, saying: "My door is open."

Lord O'Shaughnessy explained he understands, from first-hand experience in the education sector, how important the built environment is; even more so in healthcare because of the impact it can have on the patient's recovery and survival rates.
He outlined his five priorities for now and the immediate future:
Estate utilisation: to ensure maximum value for money, it is essential to look hard at the space, make sure it is being used efficiently and question whether technology is being well integrated.

Backlog maintenance: patching up is not going to be enough. Lord O'Shaughnessy argued for Trust and hospital-level transformation, using the opportunities of surplus land to raise funding.
STPs: the healthcare estate has a massive role to play in moving away from 'silos' and looking across the entire estate and Lord O'Shaughnessy emphasised how important he believes STPs and this collaborative approach is to the future.

Targets: acknowledging the targets are big ones, naming generating revenue from land sales, savings for the estate and meeting housing needs, Lord O'Shaughnessy said he was pleased to hear that some of the housing on NHS land would be set aside for nurses and other NHS staff.

Lifecycle costs: to understand business cases it is essential to understand the lifecycle cost, not just the initial capital cost.
Lord O'Shaughnessy also confirmed there would be a response to the Naylor report on land and estates by the end of the year.

Questions from the floor raised other important issues around this transformation agenda, including how to drive pace into the system and keeping the capital receipt from the sale of surplus land within the local area. Lord O'Shaughnessy acknowledged that both of these are issues that he is aware of; that discussions are being held with NHS Property Services and that through the Estates Programme Board, with a team of professionals and strong leadership, they can make things happen.

He also cautioned that trying to tackle every issue simultaneously, moving the whole system forward together, inch-by-inch, would fail and said the best approach is to concentrate on bringing people through in smaller chunks, which is where the STPs provide the pipeline.