First Express LIFT scheme completed


Cumbria development marks a new era in the procurement of healthcare buildings

The official handover has taken place of the first healthcare project in England to be completed under the new Express LIFT (eLIFT) procurement scheme.

Sedbergh Health Centre also marks the first scheme leased by a LIFT Co directly to GPs.

The £1.8m building, commissioned by Dr William Lumb and Dr Christine Hunt of Sedbergh Medical Practice, has been designed to reflect its location in the national park and features widespread use of stone and slate to match nearby dwellings.

It provides new facilities to benefit staff and patients including treatment rooms, physiotherapy space, a dispensary, and a dedicated area providing medical services for Sedbergh School. There is also a conference, training and research suite.

Dr Lumb said: "It's fantastic that after years of hard work securing a site and then a speedy build we're now able to move into our new modern home. It's been a really positive experience to see a building such as this take shape so quickly and I hope that patients will now be able to reap the benefits of the improved facilities and space.”

Gary Naylor, general manager of eLIFT Cumbria, added: "We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone and to deliver this first tangible development in what we hope will be a long and successful relationship with healthcare commissioners and providers in Cumbria.”

eLIFT replaces NHS LIFT, which was first launched by the Department of Health in 2000 to develop and encourage a new market for investment in primary care and community-based facilities. Under the earlier model, the buildings were refurbished or built and maintained by a local LIFT company (LIFTCo) - a joint venture between the public and private sectors that had the responsibility for leasing facilities back to a primary care trust and maintaining the premises over the long-term. Once established, the LIFTCo could be used many times, meaning that the various private sector partners became increasingly adept at working together.

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eLIFT is essentially similar, but takes away the need for a competitive design element and speeds up the overall procurement process. This opens the door for more localised deals which will see direct commissioning from GPs and other providers rather than through the soon-to-be-axed strategic health authorities and primary care trusts.