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Editor's blog 5th August 2008: loving an elevator?

Evening, all. You will find Tom Smith's latest Health Policy Today now online, reflecting on the policy and political misunderstandings of the book Nudge. No, I haven't read it yet and so am not going to opine about this. (Tom has, though).

Instead, just a quick reflection that in the spirit of the World-Class Commissioning team's alterations to FESC procurements, taking the process down to less than two months, the DH has announced a similar initiative for Local Improvement Finance Trusts (LIFTs) - the PFI of primary care.

Now we have 'ExpressLIFT', which will - like FESC - form a shortlist of approved LIFT providers. The process of procurement will in future take 4-6 weeks, instead of the current two years. The completion process on bids should be reduced to between four and five months.

This is interesting for two reasons.

Firstly, it is seeking to facilitiate primary care new builds just as the polyclinic bidding process is coming into its later stages.

Secondly, the credit crunch is making lenders in all sectors more reluctant to part with money - in some cases, because they just don't have it. Whether this inevitably higher cost of borrowing for ExpressLIFTcan be offset by spectacular deals on costs because of the slump in the new building trade remains to be seen.

Given the LIFT is the son of PFI, and the value-for-money issues around PFI, would you be betting on it? I would urge - if not nudge - you not to.