Frequently Asked Questions

NHS Property Services is developing a new approach to sessional space.  The model is based on a digital platform where users can search, pay for and manage room bookings consistently across the NHS estate.   This promotes efficient use of space and maximises opportunities for increased services in local communities.

NHS Open Space

NHS Open Space is multi-use, clinical and non-clinical accommodation, available for hire on an hourly or sessional basis. This means you only pay for the space and time you need, giving you greater flexibility and choice.
No.  It is there to provide flexible space as and when users need it, providing an alternative option to leasing space exclusively.

Through analysis of the NHS Property Services (NHSPS) estate, we have identified almost 70,000 sq m of ‘sessional space’ across the country.

Our customers have told us that easier access to sessional space will help them deliver services where and when they are needed as well as reducing operating costs through more efficient use of our rooms.

The pilot tests our solution for booking, paying, managing and pricing in a number of properties before being rolled out nationally across the NHSPS estate.

NHSPS identified a number of buildings to take part in the pilot across the country. These buildings have been chosen as they have rooms that are used as sessional space – i.e. there is no lease or agreement in place – and there is local demand for more flexible use of the space.

We are not introducing additional sessional space at this stage but are changing the model we operate to book and pay for space.

Properties taking part in the pilot include:

North East

  • Blaydon Primary Care Centre
  • Redcar Primary Care Centre
  • Stanley Primary Care Centre
  • Victoria Road Primary Care Centre

North West

  • Chorley Health Centre
  • Colne Health Centre
  • Failsworth Primary Care Resource Centre
  • Magull Health Centre
  • Preston Healthport

Mid Country

  • Johnson Community Hospital
  • Soho Health Centre
  • Strelley Health Centre
  • Wollaton Vale Health Centre

London and South East

  • Sheppey Community Hospital
  • Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital
  • South Westminster Centre for Health
  • Station Plaza Health Centre

By introducing a national, consistent model of sessional space users will see:

  • greater choice and more flexibility to book rooms
  • an improved, simplified experience of booking, paying for and using rooms in our buildings
  • improved space utilisation locally and nationally which will help reduce costs for the NHS
  • an open, visible and transparent system, open for all to use
Visit our pilot room bookings website to register and book space.

Room utilisation

Improving space utilisation will reduce operating costs and lower the costs of the estate. NHS Open Space will bring into scope otherwise empty or underutilised space by opening access to other users and services.
Each NHS Open Space room contains a motion sensor. Small ‘OccupEye’ sensors monitor the presence of people within a space but do not identify individuals. Motion sensors are a non-intrusive way to monitor utilisation and are used frequently throughout the public and private sectors. They help us understand how space is used, identify opportunities to improve efficiency and ensure we are providing the services our customers want.
The sensors work through a combination of motion and heat. They are small, wall-mounted devices and do not affect daily routines or patient service.  They are far less intrusive than traditional methods such as ‘floor-walking’ assessments. The sensors have been used in NHSPS properties previously without issue.

They do not:

  • identify individuals
  • record pictures or sounds
  • display or reveal any confidential information – data remains completely anonymous

Rooms and equipment

A range of clinical (i.e. consulting and minor treatment) and counselling rooms that can be booked on a sessional basis.  Sessions are either morning, afternoon, evening or all day. Session times and durations are dependent on each property.   Non-clinical rooms such as meeting or activity rooms, or office space can be booked on an hourly basis.

  • Activity rooms
  • Clinical consulting rooms
  • Clinical treatment and minor surgery rooms
  • Counselling rooms
  • Meeting rooms
  • Office space

Please be aware that not all types of space are available at all sites.

NHSPS has provided standard equipment in the majority of clinical and non-clinical rooms. Full details are available for each room at our bookings website.

Any equipment belonging to users must be removed when the room is not booked by the user. NHSPS cannot be held responsible for equipment belonging to users. Please see our terms and conditions for further information.

Basic equipment belonging to NHSPS will remain in the room and continue to be maintained by NHSPS.

If your booking requires the use of heavy of specialist equipment, please speak to your property manager to discuss options.

Please contact your local property manager to discuss the options that may be available.

Payment

NHS Open space is charged at an all-in, one-off cost.  Clinical and counselling rooms are charged at a total cost for the session while non-clinical rooms are charged at an hourly rate.  Costs have been set at market-rate and are dependent on geography, room type and capacity.  In most cases the cost of rooms, now standardised, is reduced from the charges levied under the pilot scheme.  Standard VAT is applied.

NHS Open Space rate card by property 2019_20

The NHS Open Space platform will provide a total cost of your space order prior to confirmation and payment. 

Sessional space needs to be accounted for like any other space within the NHS estate.  Leased property is paid for on a retained basis and sessional space under the traditional model is still paid for but without the accuracy that the new model affords.  As a pay-as-you-go resource which is paid for by the user (in some cases funding is provided by the commissioner), NHS Open Space offers an efficient, progressive and affordable solution.

The NHS Open Space platform calculates the cost, in accordance with our terms and conditions, as part of the booking process.  This is calculated either in full or in advance monthly instalments for bookings occurring in a single calendar month.   Payments must be made by credit or debit cards.

You don’t have to. For recurring bookings spanning over more than one calendar month you have the option to pay the entire balance at the time of booking or you can choose for your saved payment card to be charged at the beginning of each calendar month for the bookings falling within that month.

Yes.  At registration users are asked to provide details of a designated ‘billing contact’.  This individual will input the payment card details and only they will have visibility of or can amend the details.  Payment cards can be saved against each individual service or against the organisation. A minimum of one saved card is required.  These cards are charged automatically in line with our terms and conditions to pay for bookings made for the organisation or service defined.

If there are no payment cards saved against an organisation or service a booking can be made and paid for at the same time.  Please note that a saved payment card is a pre-requisite to make bookings in advance on a pay-as-you-go monthly basis. 

All saved payment card details are stored by our partner WorldPay, ensuring full PCI compliance.

If your card becomes invalid your billing contact will receive a notification informing that we have been unable to take payment.  The billing contact will then be asked to update the payment card details and to make the payment to secure the booking.  If the card details are not updated NHS Open Space reserves the right to cancel your unpaid bookings plus any future bookings.

While all NHS Open Space bookings must be paid for up-front we are looking at alternative pre-payment methods.  Please contact us directly at openspace@property.nhs.uk to find out more.
Invoices generated for bookings are available to view and print from your management dashboard.

Existing bookings

All future bookings will be transferred to the new booking platform and must be paid for at the new price.  You will be able to do this on a pay-as-you-go basis.  Your future bookings will only be lost if you have not registered a payment card or paid for the cost of your immediate bookings within a month of launch.  The NHS Open Space programme team will ensure training is readily available and will support any user looking to secure their bookings with payment.

Your management dashboard on the NHS Open Space platform provides a single access point for all your booking and account information, including past and upcoming bookings.

Cancelling bookings

If you cancel a booking less than 48 hours before the session is due to start you will be charged the full cost of that session. If you cancel a booking with more than 48 hours notice and the session has already been paid for you will receive a full refund. If the session has not been paid for you will not be charged.

Refunds are made to the same payment card used for the initial transaction and are made immediately through WorldPay but the full processing time will depend on the card provider.