Viewpoint: It’s all about the people

This article was originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of our Healthcare newsletter.

As I prepare this article we are bang in the middle of the pre-election silly season, with a whole host of politically motivated manifesto promises from all the main parties. Many relate to the funding of the NHS and provision of a wide range of services including seven day access and more doctors, nurses and health care professionals.

Trying to establish which of these are new initiatives rather than recycled old promises is rather difficult, but it is certainly clear that all parties are committed to further significant funding initiatives in all areas of primary care. This is all potentially very exciting, particularly if I am able to put aside any cynicism I might have for politicians!

Combined with the announcement in the Autumn Statement of £1bn of property funding through the Infrastructure Fund over the next four years, these initiatives could well be what we have been missing for the last seven/eight years.

But, and it is clearly a big but, to meet a seven day access target is there sufficient staffing capability in the pipeline? According to recent reports there are very considerable doubts that they can be met, particularly with the ongoing problem of medical graduates not opting for general practice and many existing GPs moving towards retirement. Newspaper reports detailing ‘one in three posts for training GPs remain unfilled’ and ‘in some parts of the country two out of three trained posts are currently vacant’ don’t make good reading.

Dealing with these issues is going to take some real ‘blue sky’ thinking, both in the short and medium term, to enable the political promise and the practical reality of life in the NHS to come together.

These issues are of course very much at the ‘coalface’ whereas we at Neil Mason Associates are more concerned on a day-to-day basis with property progression issues. The roll out of the Infrastructure Fund over the next four years could make a significant impact on solving space needs and drive forward seven day access and the promotion of community based services.

But on the other hand, the problem could well lie in the capacity of the administrative staffing teams at CCG and NHS England to meet the tight timescales involved. We are working very closely with these teams and this is certainly no criticism as to their capability but, as I’m sure they’d agree, their work capacity is another issue.

In the meantime we patiently press on with many projects which until recently have been very much in the ‘sidings’ but may now at long last be coming to fruition.

We remain optimistic, patient but very much engaged so if you have a funding requirement that you think we could help with, then rest assured we are certainly here to help!

About Neil

Neil has been a Chartered Surveyor at local, regional and national levels for the past forty years. The health care sector is now a substantial part of his advisory work. Outside the office (when he can manage to escape), he can be found on the golf course or following Leicester City FC's rollercoaster ride each season!

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