To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what his estimate is of delays in PCT investment due to the need to obtain private sector partners; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will provide for 2002–03 his estimate of investment by primary care trusts via (a) NHS LIFT involving private sector partners, (b) direct NHS sources and (c) other sources; what is the average amount for each category, per PCT; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what arrangements he has put in place to avoid variations in LIFT funding to PCTs because of differences in access to private sector partners; and if he will make a statement.
The NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (NHS LIFT) initiative was announced in the NHS Plan. The initiative aims to deliver a step change in the quality of the primary care estate. LIFT's initial focus has been to encourage investment in those parts of the country—such as inner cities—where primary care services are in most need of improvement.
In February 2001, the Department prioritised an initial six LIFT schemes, and in January 2002 a further 12 LIFT schemes were identified. We anticipate approving a third wave of schemes later this year.
The Department has earmarked a total of £195 million (over the current spending review period) to support localities develop their LIFT schemes. All LIFT localities will receive significant levels of financial assistance. The level of this funding is dependent on a number of local factors such as size of the scheme.
The Department is also providing technical assistance to help PCTs develop their investment proposals, and is confident that all localities will attract private partners offering affordable solutions.
Two of the first wave LIFT schemes (east London and the City and Camden and Islington) recently issued tender documentation. The value of the initial investment requirement in east London and the City is £62.5 million, and in Camden and Islington is £17 million.
Once fully established locally, LIFT will help deliver quicker across the piece solutions for primary care. The LIFT approach enables the needs of the whole locality to be considered in a systematic manner, and aims to deliver speedier solutions by using a standardised approach to procurement.