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A ‘blueprint’ approach to healthcare estates: developing estates which enable integration in Plymouth

The PSC and the Plymouth Local Care Partnership – developed a 'Blueprint' approach to designing estates which meets population needs and enables integration.

There is a mis-match between the healthcare challenges we face (ageing, lifestyle factors, long term conditions) and the healthcare systems we have inherited (established in immediate the post war era to deliver interventions).

Delivering ‘integrated’ solutions and taking an ‘integrated’ approach to developing those solutions is critical in bringing about the transformation we need.

A ‘blueprint’ approach to healthcare estates: developing estates which enable integration in Plymouth

In our view, ‘healthcare integration’ is any initiative, large or small, designed to address the big strategic challenge - by bringing together teams, individuals, budgets, and organisations to develop different care models and ways of working that meet the needs of that local population.

Our healthcare estates are not set up to address today's healthcare challenges, rather they were designed to deliver interventions when people need immediate ‘help’. These estates leave us ill-equipped to tackle the modern challenges of supporting people in managing chronic conditions, preventing illness, and reducing health inequalities.

To address this issue, The PSC has – in partnership with the Plymouth Local Care Partnership – co-developed a 'Blueprint' approach to designing estates which both meet population needs and enable integration of care. This aligns with the approach being taken by the New Hospitals Programme, where capital investment is intended to drive changes that benefit local health and care systems, as well as improve hospitals.

The Blueprint approach comprises four key steps:

  1. Identifying the population need.
  2. Agreeing common principles for models of care.
  3. Developing estates master plan for key population cohorts.
  4. Identifying project cases and funding. 

In Plymouth, by 2034, over 20% of the population will be aged over 65. Meanwhile, 9.7% of the population reports long-term health problems or disabilities, and there is higher than average prevalence of most chronic conditions, including asthma, coronary heart disease, and diabetes. Moreover, Plymouth faces high rates of smoking, drug and alcohol dependency and obesity, alongside significant health inequalities between the most and least deprived areas.

Within the City’s healthcare estates, there is a shortage of flexible spaces that enable seamless, efficient care and collaboration, and a lack of community infrastructure to offer services to people with chronic conditions and preventative services.

The Blueprint programme has transformed Plymouth LCP's approach to strategic estates planning. The LCP no longer evaluates their estate based solely on its condition, utilisation, and cost. Instead, the estate is recognised as a critical enabler for service integration and delivery of care aligned to population needs.


The PSC can assist health and care organisations and systems across the UK in developing strategic estate plans using the blueprint approach. 

The PSC exists to make public services brilliant. We’re known for tackling the most complex challenges in the public sector, including an extensive track record in capital investment programmes. Speak to our team to find out more

Authors: The PSC Built Environment Advisory Team (Samuel RoseNicole SamuelEllie Lane, and Joe Cruden).

Please click here to dowload a detailed case study of the Plymouth Blueprint work, including its alignment with the New Hospitals Programme.

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