News & Media

Marking a milestone…


It’s fifteen years this November since we first started looking after healthcare buildings in communities. Since 2003, we’ve been building, investing in and managing GP surgery, primary care and diagnostic and treatment centre premises around the country.

Here are fifteen things you may not know about these sorts of buildings – or about the task of transforming the NHS’s estate for the future, one of our country’s biggest infrastructure challenges:

1. The NHS’s estate serves the world’s fifth largest workforce and its sites are where more than one million patients are treated every 24 hours.

2. Our buildings alone serve more than 5 million patients.

3. Our buildings accommodate a huge range of primary care services – from general practice and pharmacy to physiotherapy, sexual health services, renal dialysis, IVF and remote consultant clinics.

4. Many of our buildings host mental health services in the community, including CAMHS, talking therapies and depression and anxiety support services.

5. These sorts of buildings are often hives of activity for social prescribing. Frome Medical Centre in Somerset won an award from Number 10 this year for their incredible results.

6. There are just over 7,600 GP practices in England and 34,435 GPs. GP surgeries are often held up as the buildings in which most patient contact in the NHS takes place, yet we estimate that more than one third are converted buildings – former Victorian terraces, 1960s bungalows and former offices are common.

7. In the BMA’s 2014 research with almost 4,500 GP practices, 40% felt their premises were inadequate, making it a struggle to provide even basic GP services. Seven in ten said their premises are too small to deliver more services.

8. From the patients’ perspective, Healthwatch has highlighted concerns around physical access to GP surgeries.

9. The Five Year Forward View stated that the future of the NHS “no longer sees expertise locked into often outdated buildings,” and promised the expansion of funding to upgrade primary care infrastructure.

10. The Health Secretary’s prevention vision – which calls for increased investment into primary and community health services – builds on existing government plans to increase access to GP services, grow the primary care workforce, encourage practices to work together in networks and improve GP premises by 2020.

11. Government has taken steps to help, including through support for the recommendations of the Naylor Review and via the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) – launched to deliver almost £1 billion into GP premises and digital infrastructure. 86% of early bids to the fund were to extend or improve existing premises, or to build new ones.

12. The whole NHS estate in England would cover the City of London ten times over, with more than 28.4million m2 of floor space in trust buildings alone (not including GP surgery premises).

13. The NHS’s estate – away from community healthcare buildings – is not in good health either: hospital trusts report that they need more than £5.5 billion to address the backlog of maintenance in their buildings.

14. Across more than 550 buildings, we respond to thousands of reactive works each year – from heating and hot water issues to emergency repairs and landscaping.

15. From its vast built footprint, the NHS generates almost one-fifth (18%) of all emissions from non-domestic buildings in the UK. It’s why we’re designing our buildings to cut energy use and costs for the health service.