Building for the future – HEFMA SW & Eastwood Park’s spring 2019 seminar

HEFMA members in the South West gathered at Eastwood Park again this spring (04 April 2019) for the latest in the series of unique training seminars organised by the HEFMA SW Training Group.

Entitled "Building for the future", the day began with an overview of the work of the NHS Estates and Facilities Division of NHS England and NHS Improvement presented jointly by Adrian Eggleton, Director and EFM Operational Lead, Jeremy Smith, Local Area Director (South) and Jo Dolby, Capital and Commercial Lead and stressed "the NHS is doing well in challenging times" and emphasised "the need to be aware of what is effecting your business cases going forward".

Adrian Eggleton, Director gave a presentation on the NHS Estates and Facilities implications of the NHS Long Term Plan accepted that "many may be disappointed by the limited references to Estates & Facilities it contained and not a reflection of the work that went into it". He thanked the room for those that contributed to the E&FM staff survey undertaken last autumn which delivered valuable data and a 96% response rate and commented "the challenges going forward high on the agenda included workforce demographics, addressing backlog increases, system-wide infrastructure, as well as the need for long-term planning, sustainability and gaining efficiencies through improved technology."

With a detailed review of the Strategic Estates Planning function and the regional advisors role the focus by Jeremy Smith was very much: "We’re here to help. We are about working with you to raise the standard of estates strategies."

NHS Improvement’s Capital/Commercial Lead, Jo Dolby "understood the pressures through incredible constrained capital... with only £420 million spent on backlog… [and] recognised [STP Wave] monies had been directed to transformation…we are working on standardisation and a slicker process for business cases and addressing the different accounting treatments in the Department of Health and NHS, which is all having an impact."

The day concluded with an invaluable insight into the £82.3 million economic business case for the phased development of Critical Care Facilities at Musgrove Park in Taunton. The room listened with intent to the various stages presented by Project Director, Ian Boswall, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust; a project started in 2006 and due for completion in 2024.

The packed seminar stimulated considerable debate and opportunity to challenge all speakers; Neil Hughes, HefmA SW training branch Chair & Strategic Head of Estates, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust concluded:

"There have been clear themes throughout the day. Some of the figures we have heard have been astounding, not least that only £90 per head per year is spent on training and the quoted significant backlog maintenance figures, these generally do not reflect an investment in our current and future workforces and we need a fresh strategic approach to addressing our backlog maintenance programmes. The overriding theme however is about teamwork and working in conjunction with NHS England and NHS Improvement; the support is there, and we should engage at our earliest opportunity for seek support in taking forward our strategic development programmes."