Health and wellbeing providers looking for alternative and flexible ways to deliver services in response to Covid-19 can now use NHS pay-as-you-go spaces across England.
Profits made from this scheme will be reinvested back into the health service for the benefit of patients and to help rebuild the NHS.
NHS Open Space, an initiative launched in spring 2019 by NHS Property Services (NHSPS), has now reopened post-lockdown, offering clinical and non-clinical spaces for hire on an hourly or daily basis, with greater flexibility and choice at an affordable price.
Health and wellbeing providers – from physiotherapists to nutritionists and mental health specialists to PT’s – can use NHS Open Space to find and book rooms easily within their local communities, “while being reassured of the safety of themselves and their customers”, according to NHSPS.
With the ability to book non-clinical rooms, such as private offices or meeting rooms, these spaces can also be used by businesses, community groups, or freelancers in need of pop-up working or meeting space.
The intuitive booking system means that users only pay for the time and space they need, which could provide much-needed relief on finances for independent and small businesses in the midst of the pandemic. It also makes better use of the NHS estate, driving money back into the health service at a critical time.
Following a two-year pilot, NHS Open Space, which has been designed and developed collaboratively with users, currently has 20 sites open for use across England with another 40 expected to launch this autumn. The spaces available range from consulting rooms and examination rooms to spaces for group activities or even meeting rooms.
John Westwood, director of asset management at NHSPS, said: “We know many NHS providers and healthcare-related business owners will be looking for more flexible property and space options in the wake of the pandemic as ways of working and operating change. We hope NHS Open Space will help provide an alternative, cost-effective option for those looking to get their services up and running in local communities while keeping their finances healthy. It will also allow us to help wider health economies, ensuring we are using space as efficiently as possible to improve health and wellbeing and driving money straight back into the NHS.
“For many, cleanliness and infection control will be front of mind, as they will want the confidence to inform their customers they are in a safe space. Safety has been and still is our number one priority. Using an NHS space will help take another weight off services’ minds, as providers and patients alike can count on us to ensure that all available sites are cleaned and maintained to the highest of safety standards.”