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MPs told NHS Lift is poor value

NEWS

THE DEPARTMENT of Health's £1 billion NHS Lift initiative came under fire last week as politicians heard that the costs of health centres built under the programme outstripped conventional procurement.

Newham GP Bhupinder Kohli told MPs on the House of Commons' public accounts committee: 'The average pound-per-patient spend on non-Lift buildings is £8.

'For the two Lift buildings that have been completed it has come out at £43.40 a patient.

'From our premises expenditure budgets for all GP surgeries, 33 per cent of the budget is being spent on buildings covering 8 per cent of the Newham population.' He added that GPs were likely to be discouraged from minor alterations to Lift facilities as the public-private LiftCo has a monopoly status as provider for 20 years.

MP Jon Trickett said he was 'uneasy' about Lift and criticised the National Audit Office's report into the scheme as 'unsatisfactory'.

He said: 'I do not think it demonstrates value for money. The report is bereft of financial analysis frankly.' Peter Coates, from the Department of Health's PFI unit, said: 'We will not know for some time whether value for money and success have been achieved.'