£1bn for primary care estate

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a £1bn investment fund for new primary and community care facilities over the next four years.

In a speech to Parliament setting out how the government intends to implement the recent Five Year Forward View report published by NHS England, Hunt said the investment will pay for new surgeries and community care buildings across the country.

The NHS England report called on the government to enable new models of health provision, including the ability to allow acute hospital trusts to establish primary care services on their property and for GPs to increase the amount of diagnostic work they can undertake without having to send someone to hospital.

Hunt pledged to make £200m available to pilot the new models of care outlined in the report, adding that the £1bn investment in infrastructure would also be designed to encourage primary care services to join up closely with local job centres, social services and other community services.

“To deliver world class community care we will need much better physical infrastructure,” he said.

Helen Munro, director of strategy at the Lift Council, supported the initiative but suggested further details are needed.

“We welcome the news that a freeze in new NHS estates development will be lifted as this has delayed the progress of further modernising primary care infrastructure,” she said. “Further details on how the government will deliver this new programme of investment, and in particular what proportion will be spent on the construction of new premises, are needed without any further delay.”

To read  an in-depth article on the impact that the Five Year Forward View may have on the market, see Partnerships Bulletin's December/January Cover Story, or click here