Health sector ‘must utilise existing estate’

Exclusive: Experts from across the health sector have highlighted the importance of making better use of existing assets as part of the estate strategy.

The second roundtable event as part of the series on the NHS, being run in conjunction with gbpartnerships and Addleshaw Goddard, was held in Manchester and delivered some different perspectives on the way devolution is working within the NHS, compared to Tuesday’s event in London.

One of the most significant aspects to come out of the discussion in Manchester was the need to focus on utilisation within the estate, as many practitioners around the table suggested that more needs to be done to change the culture within the health sector.

As part of this, the aim must be to ensure existing modern facilities are being used extensively by health professionals, while the public also needs to be encouraged to move away from heading straight to A&E with every problem, but instead taking advantage of primary care services that can be based in more local settings.

“It is about changing people’s practices around how they view health provision,” said one participant.

The roundtable also highlighted a number of existing examples where efforts are being made to transform the way services are provided and to encourage a focus on ‘place’ rather than ‘systems’.

Despite some issues with the way devolution has so far developed in the UK, those in the room agreed that there is a strong drive at local levels to change how health services are provided to make them more appropriate to their local communities.

A write-up of both sessions on devolution within the health estate, plus the thoughts of sponsors gbpartnerships and Addleshaw Goddard, will feature in a special 'Big Question' supplement