PUBLIC SECT0R: DoH drives NHS Estates PPP forward

The Department of Health is to launch a fresh PR drive to support

plans to part privatise a section of the NHS.



NHS Estates, which handles property management, international medical

aid and the Government's health management advisory service Capitec, is

being split.



It is planned that its executive work will be hived off and run by a

public-private-partnership under the name Inventures.



Department officials are now in the process of creating a shortlist of

around four companies to run Inventures.



A decision is likely by the end of the year but measures are now being

taken to allay fears from groups such as unions and health sector

professionals about private involvement in the health service.



Measures include hiring corporate specialist agency Camargue to assist

the NHS Estates in house team with a communications strategy for its

launch as a PPP.



There will also be extensive liaison and promotional work with unions,

the financial press and the health care media.



Camargue account director Andrew Smith added that another part of the

campaign is to raise the profile of Inventures CEO Kate Priestley, to

give a public face to the initiative.



He said: 'This is a contentious issue and it needs to be carefully

managed.



The approach we will be taking is that the challenge in funding the NHS

needs to be met. This scheme will make the health service better by

adding private backing to public management.



'Kate Priestley is very media savvy and a great asset in the campaign to

promote this PPP initiative,' he added.



The Camargue team, headed by director Mike Conway, reports directly to

Priestley.



The policy and regulatory role of NHS Estates will remain within the

DoH.



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