The article was not only inaccurate but painted a totally false picture of LIFT generally and the progress to date in Wigan.

LIFT has brought enormous benefits to Wigan in delivering facilities from which healthcare professionals, and others, can provide high-quality care to Wigan residents.

Foundation for Life, the LIFT company in Wigan, was formed as a commercial entity in December 2003. Construction of the Wigan LIFT's first tranche of buildings started in February 2004. Facilities opened in this tranche were:

  • Ormerod House, Atherton, February 2005. Three GP practices, community services, minor surgery suite, children's hearing service and a pharmacy
  • Claire House, Lower Ince, May 2005. Two GP practices, community services, The PCT's wheelchair services, community mental health team, social services teams and a pharmacy
  • Chandler House, Worsley Mesnes, Wigan, June 2005. Five GP practices, community services, voluntary sector, minor surgery suite, learning centre, children's hearing service and a pharmacy.
The second tranche began construction in 2005 and progress is as follows:
  • Kid Glove House, Golborne. Opened January 2006. Three GP practices, minor surgery suite, diabetic retinopathy (due to commence in April 2006).
All of the above facilities have sufficient flexibility for visiting health professionals to book sessions for, for example, chronic disease management, health promotion sessions or smoking cessation.

  • Boston House, Frog Lane, Wigan. In construction; due to open in June 2006. One large GP practice, community services, the PCT's largest physiotherapy department (transferred from a hospital site), community mental team, renal dialysis unit and a pharmacy.
Foundation for Life is currently preparing the business case for the third tranche scheme which, if approved, will start construction in March 2006 with an opening date of April/May 2007. The scheme will include:

  • Four GP practices, community services, a medium-sized physiotherapy department, children's hearing services main base, children's therapy services, primary care mental health team (children), a hydrotherapy suite and a pharmacy.
The above schemes will demonstrate a capital investment in excess of £30m in Wigan, providing facilities for more than 30 GPs and a wide range of other health and social care professionals. At all stages of the developments, health professionals have been closely involved in the design and delivery of the schemes.

The PCT is rightly proud of the development of its LIFT company and the speed in which it has delivered significant facilities across the borough of Wigan.

Peter Rowe, chief executive, Ashton, Leigh and Wigan NHS Primary Care Trust