Former NHS boss urges industry to approach health service with space-saving designs

The former chief executive of the NHS has urged construction companies to approach the health service with space-saving designs that will help cut costs by reducing staff numbers.

Nigel Crisp, chief executive of the NHS between 2000 and 2006 and peer in the House of Lords, told Building that construction firms need to be more proactive about winning healthcare work by contributing towards the government’s goal of cutting £21bn from NHS costs by 2014.

He said: “The construction industry can support the NHS by suggesting designs that require less staff. Can these designs shorten processes between outpatient wards, operating theatres, recovery units and wards and allow for the number if people required for each process to be cut?

“Architects, designers and contractors need to make the best, more efficient use, of the NHS’ most costly ingredient: people. This will be a key selling point for people wanting to bid for work.”

Lord Crisp’s comments came as former home secretary David Blunkett criticised the government’s NHS reforms, laid out in the Health and Social Care Bill, for being unclear.

He said: “The more that ministers endeavour to prove that they will no longer be involved in critical decisions, the more they prove that that is exactly where we will be in years to come. The more they indicate that power will lie at the local level with the abolition of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, the more we can see that decisions will be fragmented, uncoordinated and lacking in any strategic framework.”