Merseyside Property Partnership

Property is an expensive resource which, if not managed and used appropriately, can be the cause of significant inefficiencies in the operation of organisations. This is particularly the case in healthcare where property needs to be specialised but also flexible. Property is fundamental to the delivery of good quality healthcare and can provide improved outcomes for patients if planned and utilised appropriately. Since the changes in the NHS took effect in April 2013 property ownership has become fragmented. If estate is not appropriately planned this could lead to patients being treated in poorer quality premises whilst newer, high quality premises remain underutilised.

For the Merseyside health economy to respond to the many challenges it faces, including improved patient care and the Nicholson challenge, organisations will need to work together, particularly commissioners and providers to ensure that the estate runs efficiently as a whole but at the same time ensure innovation is not stifled. To assist with this, Renova Developments (Renova), Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnerships (LSHP), NHS Property Services (NHS PS) and Community Health Partnerships (CHP) have agreed to form a unique partnership (Merseyside Property Partnership) to manage the property portfolio and ensure that it responds to the needs of the health economy.

Merseyside Property Partnership (MPP) brings together the skills of the public and private sector and their knowledge and expertise into a single organisation concentrating on the needs of the Merseyside health economy. MPP extends partnerships that have worked well in the past and applies this to the new architecture of the NHS. At the heart of what is proposed is the challenge that NHS faces with regard to doing more for less.

MPP will focus on how property responds to the needs for commissioners and providers with an overall aim to rationalise the estate to reduce void costs and help commissioners ensure that they achieve the improved health outcomes that their commissioning plans intend by placing services in accessible and appropriate premises. It will assist commissioners in their plans to move services from an acute to a community setting in the most cost effective way.

The two LIFT companies for Merseyside (Renova and LSHP) and NHS PS and CHP have therefore agreed to form a partnership, Merseyside Property Partnership (MPP), to concentrate on improving the delivery of estates services and providing a more efficient estate in response to the demands of commissioners. This is particularly important in areas where there has been substantial investment in new premises because, if dominant service providers unilaterally decide to shift services into property that they own, or indeed develop their own property, the commissioners will be faced with meeting the full cost of the estate owned by NHS PS and CHP including void costs through the underwrite that has been agreed with DH and that of the providers through the service contract.

Property management is a non-core activity for healthcare organisations and yet it plays an important role in the delivery of services. The services offered by MPP are able to cover the entire range of operational and strategic management of the NHS primary and community estate allowing both commissioners and providers to do what they do best, ie delivering first class services to the local population and improving health outcomes. These benefits can be sub divided into the following areas.

  • Compliance
  • Strategy
  • Facilities Management
  • New Projects
  • Finance
  • Support Services

Benefits to clients

There are real advantages to MPP being part of the partnership namely:

  • A focus on the strategic importance of property to the health economy and the delivery of services
  • A more commercial view of the use and cost of property and how it responds to commissioning need
  • Decrease in void costs and increase in productivity by ensuring strategic investments are utilised appropriately
  • Lower costs through economies of scale through procurement at scale of facilities management and other costs
  • A joined up approach to property management through the involvement of both NHS PS and CHP
  • Continuation and promotion of partnership working to ensure that property remains a strategic tool for the planning and commissioning of services and the shift from an acute to community setting
  • There are no upfront costs as the additional costs of the partnership are only realised if QIPP savings are achieved through costs savings or increased productivity.
  • Merseyside will have its own vehicle for managing and developing the estate with the full involvement from the CCGs.