Wight Life Partnership (WLP), is the first whole estates partnership between a non-Foundation Trust and a private sector partner.  Established in November 2014, the agreement between the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Ryhurst Limited was considered ‘ground-breaking’.  In addition, the procurement process of just 10 months, from the issue of the OJEU notice to the signing of the contract set a new standard.

Ensuring that the NHS Trust Development Agency (TDA) were on board with the partnership agreement means that the Trust were supported on their journey to improving the services they provide for their patients.

The Trust had a clear objective for the partnership from the outset:

By working in partnership, we will look to make the best use of our estate to support high quality clinical services that meet the needs of the Island communities we serve – Karen Baker, CEO IoW NHS Trust

In practice this means building a strong, collaborative and flexible relationship supported by strong leadership.  Both the Trust and Ryhurst made the commitment to build the partnership around four key principles:

  • Mutual control                                  
  • Trust
  • Flexibility
  • Transparency

WLP were established to deliver a long term estates solution for the Trust.  Key to this is:

  • Working with the Trust and other stakeholders and providers to develop an island wide solution for the provision and delivery of services
  • Maximising the use, efficiency and location of services to ensure delivery of high quality services in the right place, at the right time for the patient
  • Identifying opportunities to maximise returns to the Trust through commercial opportunities

Property can either be an enabler or a barrier to the effective delivery of services. A key role of the partnership is to ensure that infrastructure reflects the needs of the Trust. It is not just about building new facilities; it is about getting the most out of existing facilities too.

As an integrated health economy it is important to understand the numerous and varied stakeholders who work with the Trust.

In WLP, both partners recognise the gains to be made by aligning the clinical and estates strategies with the island wide health strategy. The delivery plan to rationalise the estate ensured that quality environments are provided for the delivery of care by refitting or disposing of buildings that are not fit for purpose and

make best use of all public sector property available.  This includes reviewing how the Trust utilises space and reducing the overhead costs of occupied buildings.

The WLP Board is formed from the senior executives of both partners. The Board members are Karen Baker, Chief Executive Office and Charles Rogers, Non-Executive Director of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust with Stephen Collinson, Managing Director and Aileen Ivanec, Group Legal Director of Ryhurst Limited.

The WLP Board members jointly appointed the General Manager for the LLP who is responsible for managing WLP’s operations, projects and business development.

The Trust is represented by their ‘Informed Client Group’ (ICG) who provides the daily contact between the Trust and WLP. The group includes representatives from across the Trust to represent the views and opinions of Trust staff and patients. The ICG also co-ordinate staff and patient consultations where needed.

Key WLP projects include:

  • Reviewing the Trust’s Clinical Strategy and alignment of the Estate Strategy
  • Estate master planning to meet future clinical service needs in a fit for purpose environment
  • Secondary Service reviews to drive improvements and efficiencies
  • Commercial opportunities to generate an income
  • Improved space utilisation