Evaluation of key practices under the Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) initiative for UK healthcare facilities

PURPOSE. This paper aims to examine whether the UK Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) procurement strategy supports the delivery of facilities for improved primary and social care services that meet local needs while providing value for money. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH. The research employed a qualitative approach (case study), involving semi‐structured interviews with senior managers involved in three LIFT schemes. FINDINGS. The investigations revealed significant differences in the maturity levels of the schemes evaluated in terms of systems, processes and structures used in the planning and implementation of the schemes. Although there is potential for further improvements, the pattern of progress made generally confirmed an evolving system, with considerable evidence of performance improvement from project‐to‐project. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS. This evaluation involved only three LIFT schemes and thus utmost caution should be taken in generalising the results. In addition, the evaluations were limited to project management perspectives related to the built environment component and did not delve into clinical aspects. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS. The paper identified both good practices (that could be transferred across schemes and between projects) and poor practices (that require improvements) from the schemes evaluated. ORIGINALITY/VALUE. Although potential ways for securing further long‐term improvements and sustained value for money were highlighted, this paper provides prima facie evidence that the LIFT initiative is delivering the expected economies of scale in providing modern facilities for the provision of integrated primary and social care services.