NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has confirmed that it unlocked nearly £50 million (£48 million) of savings for the NHS front line and £90million of capital investment into new buildings and facilities in the year between April 2019 to April 2020, according to its annual report published today.
The NHSPS manages over 10 per cent of the NHS estate.
The report states that a "significant level of savings, all reinvested into the NHS, were delivered months before the NHS was tasked with dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic" and that "these savings have provided critical funds to the health service at a time where they are most needed".
The NHSPS states that it is continuing to work closely with partners and customers to look at how it can further this progress and drive additional savings in 2020/21.
The £90 million worth of capital investment was used to improve NHS sites including GP surgeries and hospitals across England. These improvements were "vital for the delivery of patient care, including a dedicated social prescribing hub providing space for local groups at Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre in Bromley".
In early 2020, scores of NHSPS staff were on the front line of the fight against Covid-19. More than 4,000 staff were responsible for completing an additional 6,000 deep cleans, delivering 1,000 additional hospital beds, emergency accommodation for staff and pop-up testing sites to keep NHS staff safe and well.
Over the course of the year, NHSPS has leveraged its estate and expertise "to transform spaces into social prescribing sites, as well as launch NHS Open Space, providing communities with access to more services in local health hubs".
NHSPS has also helped to drive the NHS’s aim of becoming carbon net-zero by 2050, with initiatives introduced that include switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity across the entire portfolio.
Martin Steele, chief executive officer for NHS Property Services, said: “I am immensely proud of the progress we have all made to improve the lives of patients and communities across the country over the past year. Our teams have enabled excellent patient care by creating high-quality spaces and places for healthcare, everywhere from traditional care settings through to NHS Open Space and our social prescribing sites. It is a testament to the enthusiasm, drive and passion of our people across the business, working together to enable excellent patient care, particularly in the time of Covid-19. This year has shown why safe, effective spaces are crucial, why talented frontline staff are so essential and the importance of reinvesting as much as possible back into the NHS."
But Steele added: "However, while we have made good progress, we have also set new, tough goals for ourselves to ensure we continue to deliver value for the NHS in 2020/21 and beyond. We will strive to continue to work closely with our customers to deliver local solutions and the best value possible for the NHS; locally, regionally and nationally.”
The NHSPS has worked hard this year to improve its billing processes for customers with many of the core areas now being delivered. However, recognising there is still work to be done in this area, NHSPS has made a firm commitment to continue its focus on billing in 2020/21, the report added.