The NHS and local economies

local growth

As a large employer, vital community service and estate owner, the NHS is a major stakeholder in any local economy. The value of the NHS to local economies reaches across a number of areas.


Universities and businesses compete across localities to develop breakthrough healthcare advances that can be marketed worldwide. 

Research partnerships provide significant opportunities for the NHS to invite investments in associated research and clinical infrastructure.

To maximise opportunities, NHS organisations should engage with: Local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), universities, local and combined authorities


The NHS is the biggest employer in any given area, ensuring local supply and retention is an on-going issue. Similarly, attracting small and medium size businesses requires higher level skill-sets that the local health and business community may lack. 

By pooling investments we can address the skills gaps at all levels.

To maximise opportunities, NHS organisations should engage with: LEPs, Universities, further education providers, schools, Department for Work and Pensions, local and combined authorities

Social inclusion

An increased understanding of the role that health and wellbeing plays in tackling poverty and driving employment and productivity is leading to significant opportunities for public, community and mental health services. 

This also enables a new focus on links with sectors such as housing, transport and planning.

To maximise opportunities, NHS organisations should engage with: LEPs, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, public health, housing associations, local and combined authorities

Estates management 

The NHS has a large estate portollio. New capital infrastructure financing mechanisms open-up opportunities for the NHS to assess the value and purpose of its properties and play a greater part in cross-sectoral capital planning.

To maximise opportunities, NHS organisations should engage with: LEPs, local and combined authorities, housing associations, universities

Local expenditure 

The NHS, through both commissioning and procurement, can have a significant effect on a local economy. 

Hospitals for example, acting as anchor institutions, can work in partnership to provide a basis for local economic development and to bring in the external support the NHS needs to embed the new care models into local communities.

To maximise opportunities, NHS organisations should engage with: LEPs, Universities, local and combined authorities, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations

Understanding your value

The challenge for the NHS is to understand the value it brings to the local economy. This will differ across the country and focus should be given on the select areas where partnerships can be developed. 

To understand the value of the NHS in your local area and the potential for partnership working contact, NHS local growth adviser, for more information.

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