Alder Hey Children’s Trust: Strategic Advice
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is one of Europe’s biggest and busiest children’s hospitals, caring for over 330,000 children and young people each year for everything from common illnesses to highly complex and specialist conditions.
Health, Public Sector
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
The Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”) operates a mixed estate, part of which is included in PFI arrangements and part of which is under the direct management of the Trust. As part of financial and capital planning the Trust needed to review and revise the Estates Strategy to utilise the available facilities in the most effective and efficient way while ensuring high quality care delivery.
Vercity were appointed as the Trust’s expert advisor to support this exercise and generate recommendations through strategic estate advice.
Vercity Consultancy have provided services such as service Benchmarking, Estates Strategy and compliance checks; all were valuable in managing risk and informed Trust decision making
Russell Gates, Director of Estates and Development
Stage 1: Estate Evaluation
Vercity’s estate management experts were deployed. Working with the Trust, the first step was to ensure a robust understanding of the existing estate and its use. This needed a clear understanding of asset management, the clinical environment and the challenges faced in delivering a modern healthcare service. With 25 years of experience providing management to healthcare facilities, Vercity was well placed to provide this understanding.
It was quickly identified that the Trust had several satellite facilities for external clinics subject to lease arrangements. Those leases had been subject to robust business cases when entered, but a reassessment of the lease costs, obligations and clinical activity was undertaken with Vercity experts comparing that to the clinical purposes served.
As part of the estate evaluation the Vercity estate management team completed:
- A risk review of property leases and other contract terms, output in a clear RAG format
- An exercise to benchmark the lease costs and associated FM costs against market experience and other activity in the Vercity portfolio
- An understanding of the lease break options and associated implications
- A review of clinical utilisation and space usage, drawing on sector expert input.
From the Estate Evaluation, working with the Trust as client, Vercity provided clear analysis and recommendations that:
- The landscape for delivery of healthcare had evolved
- Some of these facilities were no longer the best fit and others were underutilised
- Some were expensive for the Trust aims.
Stage 2: Delivery Options
The Estate Evaluation informed strategic decision making by the Trust that it should exit certain leases. Vercity developed a plan for alternative delivery options to support the implementation of that decision. The options considered whether best value could be achieved by maintenance and service obligations being retained by the Trust or contracted to other parties, including weighing the risk around statutory inspection and maintenance obligations.
Understanding the Trust objectives and delivery model was critical to ensuring these recommendations would best support the Trust provision of high-quality healthcare to patients.
Although not part of the original objectives the Estate Evaluation also identified underutilised areas of the Trust’s own estate. This was incorporated in the Delivery Options for where some of the clinical activities being relocated could be most efficiently delivered.
How Vercity Added Value
Vercity is committed to establishing productive partnerships and delivering real client value. With 25 years of experience supporting public infrastructure Vercity understand the challenges of balancing delivery of critical public services with the need to ensure every pound of spending achieves value for money.
Vercity’s strategic estate advice added value to the needs of the Trust by:
- Having a clear understanding of the healthcare environment and its development over time.
- Working in partnership to develop an assessment of Trust requirements against the existing estates footprint.
- Providing clear, easily understood and actionable recommendations, including best value and risk vs reward assessments.
- Drawing on subject matters experts and industrywide cost data to recommend arrangements for staffing and servicing the estate.
- Focussing an estate strategy on the long term aims of the Trust to ensure a sustainable foundation for years to come.
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