An aerial photo of the Severalls Hospital site in Colchester. Right: The Echelon Building residential development now on the site.

huge budgets. I remember one colleague saying, as we stood in one of our plusher reception areas, that my role’s breadth was such that I was probably even responsible for ensuring the goldfish in the tank near us were fed – and he was right.”

Managing and developing teams The experience gained while with TXU was instrumental in him securing his next job, in July 2001, as Estates Manager for Carillion FM Services at Colchester Hospital, responsible for the Estates Maintenance teams that delivered services to Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust through its FM contracts across Essex. His move to Carillion FM followed TXU’s decision to contract out its FM services. He said: “I wasn’t keen to be someone that simply sat there just looking after contracts. I like to manage and develop teams, and address challenges first-hand.” After a year with Carillion, he secured a Head of Estates position at Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, with responsibility for EFM services at Colchester General Hospital, Essex County Hospital, Clacton, and Halstead Hospitals, and a number of community clinics. This was the acute Trust he had been serving at Carillion FM. He added: “I worked in this role for just over another year, before taking up the position role of Deputy Director of Facilities at the new Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, a large PFI acute hospital in Norwich, which had only opened in October 2001.

PFI-funded hospital

“Being a PFI hospital, the job was biased towards contract management, with an annual concession agreement of £45 m, of which £14 m was soft services. I think the PFI model was necessary back then to fund much-needed new hospitals. While an expensive approach, for all its criticisms, there is one aspect I applaud – the lifecycle element; the fact that built into the funding mechanism is that in 35 years from the time I was at Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, it will be handed back in Estatecode Condition B, and the lifecycle element means critical plant and

16 Health Estate Journal February 2021

equipment are replaced a number of times through the contract. Typically, we don’t do that in the NHS. We mend and make do – one of the reasons we have a backlog maintenance liability in the UK of £9 bn, according to this year’s ERIC data. This is not only due to a lack of available money, but also insufficient planning, and a lack of visibility for Estates & Facilities. Fortunately, I think the latter scenario is changing – aided by Pete Sellars’ work while at NHSI, and Simon Corben’s continuing efforts in getting estates and facilities directors around that ‘top table’ for key decision making. This is further assisted by the Premises Assurance Model, the Patient-Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE), some elements in the CQC inspections, and the level of legislation and compliance now required within the estate. With the birth of Foundation Trusts, quite a few Estates & Facilities directors were stepped down or sideways to streamline Trust boards, which was wrong, but is now beginning to reverse. My CEO, Nick Hulme, is an

Existing aerial view

absolute advocate of estates and facilities, and has been at every Trust he has served at. Interestingly, he sent out a recent ‘Tweet’ marking his 41st anniversary with the NHS, having started out as a porter at Middlesex Hospital. Nick has not only supported me as Director of Estates & Facilities, but also as IHEEM President and, formerly, as Chair of HEFMA, and genuinely appreciates such roles’ value.”

Joining with personnel he knew Returning to his previous professional roles, and after two years at Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, Paul Fenton was asked in October 2005 to join the Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, based at Southend Hospital, as Associate Director of Facilities. He said: “There I was able to join an Executive Director of Estates & Facilities I knew, who I had worked with at Norfolk and Norwich. I was also enthused by the Trust’s redevelopment plans for the Southend Hospital site, in which I got heavily involved. We were responsible there for

Proposed developments

Proposed 3D visuals

Designs of the main entrance and retail outlet at Colchester Hospital. These facilities are privately funded via a 30-year deal with two concurrent 15-year commercial concession agreements with retailers to repay the capital.

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