NHS Property Services (NHSPS), which manages over 10% of the NHS estate, has confirmed it unlocked £48 million of savings for the NHS frontline and £90 million of capital investment into new buildings and facilities in the year between April 2019 to April 2020. These figures are revealed in the organisation’s Annual Report, published this week.
The significant level of savings, all reinvested into the NHS, were delivered months before the pandemic took hold. As such, these savings have provided critical funds to the health service at a time when they were most needed. NHSPS is continuing to work closely with partners and customers to identify how it can continue to make progress, driving additional savings in 2020/21.
The £90m of capital investment was used to improve NHS sites including GP surgeries and hospitals across England. These improvements were vital for the delivery of patient care. They include a dedicated social prescribing hub providing space for local groups at Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre in Bromley.
In early 2020, scores of NHSPS staff were on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. More than 4,000 staff were responsible for completing an additional 6,000 deep cleans, delivering 1,000 additional hospital beds, emergency accommodation for staff and pop-up testing sites to keep NHS staff safe and well.
NHSPS has also addressed some of the key aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. This has seen the organisation leverage its estate and expertise to transform spaces into social prescribing sites, as well as launching NHS Open Space, which provides communities with access to more services in local health hubs. NHSPS is also helping to drive the NHS’s aim of becoming carbon net zero by 2050, with introducing initiatives that include switching to 100% renewable electricity across the entire portfolio.
Martin Steele, Chief Executive Officer for NHS Property Services, said: “I am immensely proud of the progress we have all made to improve the lives of patients and communities across the country over the past year. Our teams have enabled excellent patient care by creating high quality spaces and places for healthcare, everywhere from traditional care settings through to NHS Open Space and our social prescribing sites. It is a testament to the enthusiasm, drive and passion of our people across the business, working together to enable excellent patient care, particularly in the time of COVID-19. This year has shown why safe, effective spaces are crucial, why talented frontline staff are so essential and the importance of reinvesting as much as possible back into the NHS.
“However, while we have made good progress, we have also set new, tough goals for ourselves to ensure we continue to deliver value for the NHS in 2020/21 and beyond. We will strive to continue to work closely with our customers to deliver local solutions and the best value possible for the NHS; locally, regionally and nationally.”
NHSPS has also worked to improve its billing processes for customers and says many of the core areas have now been delivered. However, recognising there is still work to be done in this area, NHSPS has made a firm commitment to continue this focus on billing in 2020/21.
To better reflect customers’ needs, NHSPS has re-aligned its eight geographic zones into seven regions that match those implemented by NHS England & NHS Improvement. This progress was mirrored in continued improvements to the organisation’s customer satisfaction score, which was just over eight out of 10. NHSPS is continuing to work closely alongside its customers to listen to their needs and support them in the delivery of improvements to local health systems and the Long Term Plan.
Using space in a smarter and more effective way is top priority for the next year, to provide safe and sustainable care environments as well as enabling the estate strategy for every Integrated Care System.