Awards for top LIFT schemes announced as coordinating body is renamed Community Health Partnerships.
Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State for Health Services, has called for continuing growth of the LIFT programme to develop local centres for the transfer of services from the acute sector.
Mr Bradshaw told more than 300 delegates at the Community Health Partnerships (CHP) conference in London on 28 November that the LIFT initiative had been 'a great success', bringing more than £1.3bn in private finance into the NHS. He rejected suggestions that the Government would retreat from such public-private partnerships.
The conference also saw the launch of CHP - replacing Partnerships for Health, the DH-owned company which coordinates the LIFT programme - and the announcement of the first annual awards for the best LIFT schemes.
Mr Bradshaw, speaking at the CHP conference at Lords Cricket Ground, said: 'The LIFT initiative has been a great success. There are now 147 LIFT buildings open to patients, 63 more are under construction, one is opening each week and dozens more are being planned. These range from GP surgeries, through Primary Care one-stop shops, to community hospitals.
'The NHS in 1997 was all too often characterised by antiquated buildings which were unpleasant to work in, unpleasant to be treated in and often located in the wrong place. The Government is committed to providing primary, community and social care from modern, up-to-date premises. LIFT is an established and important way of delivering this.'
Mr Bradshaw added: 'Too much work is still done in acute hospitals that could be done in the community, closer to people's homes. Renal, audiology, chiropody services and others that were once provided in acute hospitals are being provided in LIFT centres up and down the country. This is delivering the vision set out in the White Paper "Our Health, Our Care, Our Say". It is good for patients, good for the NHS, and the Government wants to see more of it.'
Later in his speech, Mr Bradshaw said: 'I want to make quite clear that, contrary to some of the noise around at the moment, there is no question of "retreating" from private provider involvement in the NHS. On the contrary there will be new and exciting opportunities particularly in primary care. Our guiding principles are what benefits patients and is good value for the taxpayer. LIFT meets both these criteria.'
Announcing the renaming of Partnerships for Health as CHP, Mr Bradshaw said: 'To underline the central role of communities we have decided to rename Partnerships for Health. It will now be called Community Health Partnerships in recognition of the fact that health is not just about the NHS: it is about developing healthy communities.'
At the conference, a new award scheme for the best LIFT schemes was announced by Dr Sue O'Connell, Chief Executive of Community Health Partnerships. The winners will be announced in March 2008. Dr Sue O'Connell said:
'A great deal has been achieved through the LIFT programme. As a result, many of the most deprived areas of England are benefiting from modern, integrated health and social care facilities that are improving the health and wellbeing of some of the poorest communities in the country.
'This success is making us think even more imaginatively about partnerships. So we are now at the heart of new thinking about Community Ventures and about Social Enterprises, offering learning and expertise so that the NHS and local authorities can find the best ways to create integrated services focussed on individual needs.'
Contact: Jack O'Sullivan, 07779 655585
Notes to Editors:
Community Health Partnerships develops innovative, public-private partnerships, supporting, in particular, the LIFT programme. These partnerships are designed to improve dramatically the health and well-being of local communities. CHP - known until 28 November 2007 as Partnerships for Health - is an independent company, wholly owned by the Department of Health.
The Community Health Partnerships Annual Conference - 'Delivering Healthy Communities Through Partnership'- was held on 28 November at Lords Cricket Ground. The keynote speakers were Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister of State for Health Services and Andrew Campbell, director of strategic partnerships and performance at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
For more information on the Annual LIFT awards go to www.communityhealthpartnerships.co.uk/events/LIFTawards/ceremony