The NHS has promised to speed up the procurement process for its £1bn LIFT primary healthcare programme.
NHS Estates chief executive Peter Wearmouth admitted that tenders for LIFT schemes had involved unnecessarily detailed design work.

Wearmouth was speaking at a breakfast held by the Movers and Shakers property networking club. He said: "Work has been reduced on the supply-chain partnerships [for LIFT]. There was too much of an onerous duty on the industry."

Wearmouth responded to concerns raised over the burden of work the schemes placed on the construction industry by saying that new LIFT projects had reduced the work required at bidding stage.

Wearmouth said: "The quality of [design] work should be the same but the quantity has been reduced. We are looking at a benchmarking system where you can put in bids with previous designs. To be honest, the level of technical specification on a surgery is not that high. It's not rocket science."

Wearmouth emphasisd that further LIFT schemes beyond the first wave of 42 would not come out until the first one, the East London and City LIFT, had been signed. He said: "We want to see the first few come out before committing further. It has to justify itself first."

LIFT is intended to create doctors' surgeries and clinics.