In this ‘question and answer’-style article, Adrian Powell, head of Property Development at NHS Property Services, discusses future NHSPS and wider NHS estates optimisation strategy ‘post-COVID-19’ with HEJ editor, Jonathan Baillie.
Jonathan Baillie (JB): “What have been some of the biggest impacts and challenges for NHSPS in managing its various properties during the COVID-19 crisis?”
Adrian Powell (AP): “This is not unique to NHSPS, but, as you can imagine, among the challenges we’ve faced has been the lack of face-to-face contact and the ability to be mobile and visit sites. This is particularly true for properties that needed extra capacity during the crisis, or facilities planned for renovation/expansion and needing local planning authorities involved. It was a challenge at first, but I feel we’ve found ways to overcome this, and have continued to support our customers and their needs. By way of example, where we and local planning authorities were unable to meet, both parties have been able to adapt to meetings online, and have run digital public consultations.
“As previously mentioned, this is not a challenge unique to our organisation. Indeed, our customers and stakeholders face the same challenges. The key has been to maintain momentum and continue on with ‘business as usual’ where possible. Digital solutions have helped to support us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our ability to transition into remote working has been a huge advantage, enabling us to continue to deliver to a high standard to support the NHS during this time, while ensuring that patients can still access the care they need – whether that’s now, or in the future. Allied to the innovations in digital communications is the willingness from all of us to flexibly engage with the technology. There’s been a real cultural shift in how we work.
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