Continuing our series of pen portraits of the 2022 finalists, this week we introduce you to:
(During the pandemic) “Whether it is bringing vacant spaces into use to help with respiratory care and testing, overspill parking for NHS staff or supporting occupiers’ evolving premises needs, the team is here to support.”
Assura plc is a real estate investment trust and property partner to more than 600 primary care buildings across the country, in which more than 500 GP practices operate and over five million patients are served.
During the pandemic, they reached out to their customers and asked how they could best support them. This ranged from what practical help did small businesses like hairdressers and cafes need to survive? or GP practices delivering new services in a rapidly changing environment?
One of the ways Assura helped its customers, and continues to do so, is by supporting the vaccine and booster effort. For example at the Birkenhead Medical Building on the Wirral, a floor of vacant space was given over to become a ‘hot’ hub for respiratory COVID care for the Wirral.
Practices housed there estimate this move diverted 8,000 visits to A&E since the pandemic began. This is now a major vaccination space for the Wirral, with both walk-in and booked appointments being delivered. In September, the building notched up its 100,000th COVID vaccination.
Assura also enabled their contractors to support practices by donating PPE equipment and help create temporary drive-in stations. They supported existing charity partners with additional funding and helped local grant recipients to shift focus onto COVID-related health needs.
Early in the pandemic, the company launched its £2.5m Assura Community Fund focused on supporting primary care through the voluntary sector in the communities.
The fund has distributed in excess of £1.3m so far, to more than 200 projects, reaching almost 180,000 people on issues such as mental health, isolation and loneliness and food poverty. The fund continues to support local communities, the vast majority aimed at supporting women and women’s groups.
The same agility of thought and support continues post pandemic:
“As the efforts continue and the world begins to look ahead, we are planning for how we will all do our bit to help our country kick-start its economy once again”