In a sector where outdated practices are a matter of life or death, providers need to value their buildings in a way that recognises health technology.
If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s that global healthcare capacity is critically low and one factor essential to its effective delivery is constantly overlooked – real estate.
Pre-pandemic, 80% of UK healthcare was delivered in primary care environments. However, it is reported that 50% of GP practices have seen no investment in their premises in the last decade. More than 15.4 million general practice appointments are being wasted each year as patients fail to turn up, adding up to 1.2 million GP hours wasted at a total cost to the NHS of more than £216m. Added to these startling statistics is the news that 502 GP practices have had to close in the UK over the past five years, forcing two million patients to find a new primary healthcare provider.
“It is ridiculous that in this day and age, with all the modern data available, our healthcare system still values a building based on where it is rather than on what it actually does”
It is clear that the current financial model through which primary care facilities are being supplied isn’t working. In fact, the rent reimbursement mechanism that the NHS uses to fund these premises has been in place for more than 70 years, since the NHS was founded in 1948. Despite the advances in healthcare provision during this time, the principle has remained unchanged by any of the 19 consecutive governments since.
A critical oversight in this outdated model is any ability to account for the impact of the buildings’ performance on staff or patient outcomes, despite many studies showing that evidence-based healthcare design results in demonstrated improvements in clinical outcomes, economic performance, productivity and patient satisfaction. As a result, the NHS valuation model does not place a financial value on those buildings that deliver better and more efficient care, such as those featuring digital technology and telehealth facilities.