UK - East Lancashire Healthcare Gets a 'LIFT'

The Government's drive to revitalise GP surgeries and primary care provision has reached a further milestone with the signing of only the second " LIFT " project.

Funded by a £22 million loan from The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, construction is about to begin on doctors' surgeries and accommodation for the Primary Care Trusts in Bacup, Nelson and Darwin in East Lancashire. The East Lancashire scheme is in the second wave of projects. Only one of the six schemes in the first wave has been signed up.

LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) projects are designed to transform the provision of primary care with new facilities and enhanced service delivery. The East Lancashire LIFT (LiftCo), which follows the LIFT structure as a public private partnership, comprises 40% public sector stakeholders and 60% the Eric Wright Group. The Eric Wright Group will provide all construction and facilities management services for a 25 year period.

Construction is expected to begin virtually immediately and the first facilities will be operational within 18 months.

National law firm, Pinsents, advised The Royal Bank of Scotland. Arthur Lovitt led the Pinsents team assisted by John Cleland, Nick Bell, Sue Peart, Dean Larder, Sally Jackson, Barry Francis and Carly Caton.

Arthur Lovitt commented: "This is only the second deal to sign. As such, a variety of legal technical and valuation issues had to be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. We believe that the understanding and principles that have been developed by the Team on this Project can facilitate the delivery of further schemes. At the end of the day, LIFT is about the delivery of up to date modern facilities as quickly and as cost effectively as possible."

LiftCo was advised by Addleshaw Goddard (Mike O'Connor). The Primary Care Trust and public sector stakeholders were advised by Ivan Kremer of Beachcroft Wansborough.