The NHS' LIFT procurement scheme for local clinics and surgeries has been criticised in a study published last month, increasing concern over its workings.

The report, commissioned by public sector union Unison, lists six problems with the initiative.

These include claims that the scheme is too bureaucratic, too inflexible, that it will lead to the outsourcing of NHS jobs over the course of its 25-year lease, and will cause conflicts of interest between the public and private sectors.

The study also finds that it is too expensive. In the London borough of Newham, for instance, two LIFT buildings that serve 8% of the population use 33% of the area's premises budget.

This has caused alarm in the context of the NHS' estimated £1.6bn deficit.