The Nhs’ Search For Cheaper Construction Methods
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The Nhs’ Search for Cheaper Construction Methods

Throughout the next five years, GP surgeries across the United Kingdom will receive 14% more funding than they had previously. This additional budget, which was first announced by NHS chiefs on the 21st April, will allow GP surgeries to get back on their feet following years of financial woes. For patients, this will mean an improvement in access as 5,000 more GP’s make their way into surgeries across the country to handle the heightened demand caused by a growing population.

In addition to an extra £2.4 billion per annum invested into GP surgeries, the NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens also announced the relaxation of rules that currently make it difficult for new GP surgeries to be built. A change that was praised by many following years of anguish among rural communities who were required to travel lengthy distances in order to visit the nearest GP.

However, whilst an additional £2.4 billion has been made available, councils will still be forced to plan and build these new surgeries on a tight budget. Whilst the cost of building new a new surgery can vary, it often requires an investment of between £3 and £7 million. Wokingham Medical Centre, which was built upon a redundant 1990’s office block in 2014, cost a total of £5 million; which included the cost of planning, consultants and construction. £5 million put Wokingham Medical Centre’s development in the middle of the cost bracket in 2014. However, with the NHS aiming to push most of their budget into funding new GP’s between 2016 and 2020, any new developments will undoubtable have to be considerably lower.

In order to achieve this lower development cost, a number of alternative construction methods are being considered. One of these is the use of portable buildings, which are commonly used by schools and businesses throughout the UK. Portable buildings, which are also referred to as ‘portable cabins’, have a number of benefits.

Firstly, they require a considerably lower investment than the construction of brick and mortar buildings, as they do not require the array of materials and can be fully built by a smaller team. Additionally, portable cabins can be fully constructed in a number of days and without considerable disturbance to the surrounding buildings and community. This makes them ideal, should they be used as an extension of an existing surgery. Portable cabins are also very adaptable, allowing surgeries to use them for various roles, whether it is as a waiting room for patients or a consultation facility. Finally, portable cabins are recyclable, meaning that they can be moved to other surgeries should regional demand shift.

It is because of these benefits that portable cabins will become a common sight throughout the country in coming years. Providers of portable cabins, such as UK based Springfield, also expect to see a growth in the number of Government Authorities that use such buildings. The use of which will ensure that the majority of the £2.4 billion handed to the GP’s will be invested into the care of patients.


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