Published date: 06 August 2020

Partnering with an Integrated Care System to develop an enabling estate for healthcare transformation


NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has a long-standing relationship with the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in this area, and own and manage multiple sites, many of which are central to the ICS’s strategy to transform healthcare.

We have now developed these relationships further by partnering with Suffolk and North East Essex ICS, to help deliver this transformation via developing an enabling estate.


The challenge

Suffolk and North East Essex ICS has significant ambitions to transform healthcare in the region, with some particular challenges to reduce health inequalities across the area, but with a practical and pragmatic ‘triple’ approach to integration of primary and specialist care, physical and mental health services, and health and social care

A crucial enabler to answering these challenges is the NHS estate, and yet in this area it is of varying quality – particularly for primary and community care facilities. We found the estate to be inefficient, with poorer quality or under-used buildings not enabling best use of NHS resources to provide optimal patient care.

The solution

Led by our Regional Partnership Director, NHSPS is a key partner to Suffolk and North East Essex ICS. We are helping them to design and deliver the estate they need to transform the region’s healthcare.

We have built a close and productive relationship as part of the ICS team, which includes:

  • Supporting business case development, working up projects to deliver new and/or improved facilities.
  • Upon securing funding, supporting the design and delivery of construction projects ranging from small scale refurbishments to large new builds. Including leveraging our town planning expertise to secure planning permission.
  • Developing and analysing options for relocations, running feasibility studies and assessing our own portfolio and beyond to identify the most suitable sites.
  • Acting as landlord, in some cases taking on head leases to ensure continuity of service.
  • Supporting social prescribing networks by introducing suitable and affordable spaces for charities and community services to operate.
  • Providing additional bed capacity for Covid-19 treatment, recommissioning and reconfiguring space in our buildings.

The impact

Building this partnership over the course of some successful projects has unlocked the potential of collaboration across the NHS family. It illustrates the power of aligning estate and clinical strategy so they enable one another, and we’re starting to see some significant improvements to how estates can make a difference to the area’s healthcare provision.

Key sites that demonstrate this productive partnership include:

  • Clacton Community Hospital: delivering a new Primary Care Centre, unlocking £18 million of STP funding and supporting the wider regeneration of a deprived are. We are funding and leading on the Outline Business Case for this first phase. We also recommissioned space at this site during Covid-19 to provide 50 patient beds and 15 residential units for NHS staff.
  • Oakfield Surgery, Newmarket: supported the business case, project design and kick off for a hospital extension to accommodate a GP surgery, now completed providing a brand-new facility to the local population.
  • Michael Burke Health and Wellbeing Centre, Hartismere: developing our first dedicated social prescribing hub, transforming vacant space into a range of bookable indoor and outdoor spaces for charities and community groups.
  • Kennedy Way, Clacton: developing a ‘super surgery’ supporting 12,000 patients, by refurbishing a site that enables the relocation and co-location of 2 GP practices and expands renal services. We supported the business case development to secure funding and are now delivering the works alongside investing £700K of our own capital.
  • Chantry/Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich: providing additional Primary Care capacity, supporting a feasibility study and now partnering the ICS and One Public Estate on the potential to develop our existing Chantry property.
  • Acting to take on head leases at two GP practices to safeguard future Primary Care provision.

Customer feedback

“Our ICS has received superb support and leadership from NHS Property Services, and they have become a key partner. We have moved forward and delivered a number of key estates plans that unlock improved services and outcomes for our population. We have focused many of our efforts on our most deprived communities, who have directly benefited from our partnership working.”

Ed Garratt, Chief Executive - Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, North East Essex CCG & West Suffolk CCG

Executive Lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System

“NHS Property Services is a key member of our ICS Estates group and collectively we have continued to drive forward improvements to our buildings and primary care facilities that have truly benefitted our local communities and population we serve. Their property expertise has been crucial to the development of our estate strategy that will enable transformative change to the region’s healthcare.”

Amanda Lyes, Director of Corporate Services and System Infrastructure - Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, West Suffolk CCG, North East Essex CCG

We recommissioned and reconfigured space across our estate during Covid-19 to provide additional capacity for treatment and testing, delivering space for over 1,000 beds. See our infographic for more information.