The FM frontline

Building foundations for ongoing improvement

by Chris Cunniff

By Dennis Markey, Chief Operating Officer

The fifth annual NHS Property Conference was held in London on 15 November, which I was delighted to attend and present at, alongside colleagues from CHP and the Department of Health. The event attracts property, FM and legal professionals from across both private and public sectors, whilst also being an opportunity for NHS representatives to get up-to-date on the latest property news and views.

From an NHS Property Services perspective, it was an opportunity to meet many of our customers and peers, but also a forum to demonstrate the progress and achievements we have made to date, particularly on our four core service areas: Asset Management, Strategic Estates Planning, Construction and Facilities Management. However, as an organisation, we still face a number of challenges and it was obvious from the questions, comments and feedback I received, that some of our customers and stakeholders are anxious about the challenges ahead, therefore, reinforcing, we still have a lot of work to do.

NHS Property Services’ capital projects bring wide-ranging benefits for our customers and patients. With a £60m budget for 2016/17, the company’s construction management team has the power to deliver significant transformation to the NHS estate. There are currently 425 live capital schemes, ranging from flagship schemes such as new hospitals and health centres to refurbishments and upgrades.

It’s great to see progress at Crawley Hospital, where we are coordinating the re-modelling of the site, which includes the construction of two new clinical units. We are committed to investing in our estate to improve the environment for patients, staff and visitors. The Crawley project has faced its own challenges, but it is well underway and includes a £5m redesign of the existing Urgent Care Centre (UCC) and £3m of work to the Sub-Acute Care Ward at the hospital. Crawley CCG has taken the lead commissioner role in delivering these projects in partnership with NHS Property Services, West Sussex Community Solutions and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. I’m looking forward to visiting the site again and seeing more of the project.

In partnership with South Tees CCG, we have also recently announced the £4 million redevelopment of a new primary care centre on the Guisborough Hospital site. The development will be funded in the most part by NHS Property Services and will create a new base in which community and outpatient clinics will be rehoused, with additional space for the provision of more services in the future.

We’ve also developed a new area of our website for customers and members of the public to keep updated on progress being made on some of our larger construction schemes. The area is still being updated, but you can see how we are working with our customers across England to provide improved and affordable healthcare locations for an ever-evolving NHS. You can currently find out all the latest news on – Park Prewett, Crawley Hospital and Penge Clinic

This will be my last blog of 2016 and as we come to the end of the year, I wanted to reflect on some achievements, particularly through the FM Rationalisation Programme. NHS Property Services has completed a national procurement exercise to streamline its facilities management contracts.  The move aims to ensure consistency of facilities management services across the country and an end to the historic wide disparity in costs charged to occupiers of the company’s properties. Following this process, we are now working closely with the new FM suppliers to provide our customers with more clarity and transparency to the cost of their FM services. I am fully aware that there are challenges at some of our sites, but we are committed to working to resolve these.

We will also soon have some valuable data, which will help us evaluate all our estate further. FACET property condition surveys are being carried out for all NHS Property Services buildings. The FACET framework encompasses six aspects relating to the physical environment of properties, including internal and external building fabric, mechanical systems, electrical systems, statutory fire, health and safety compliance and functional suitability. This work is being carried out as part of the new hard FM contracts for mechanical and electrical engineering (Mitie, Integral, Corrigenda). All surveys are expected to be completed by the end of December 2016 and the results from these will provide data for planning maintenance work and/or determining where more significant capital investment will be needed.

NHS Property Services has saved over £100m in the last three years, to which FM rationalisation has made a significant contribution, and all savings have  been returned to the NHS system for use in improving patient care. None of what we have achieved over the last year would have been possible if it wasn’t for our people and I’d like to thank my colleagues for their enthusiasm and dedication.

As we move forward into the new year, the benefits of the improvements we are introducing to our core processes and systems will start to become clearer to our customers. Through stronger communications and greater responsiveness we aim to be better connected to our customers and support the delivery of all our shared operational objectives.

Thank you for your continued help and support and I wish you all compliments of the season and great success in the year to come.