Government sets up board for more efficient NHS asset disposal

31 Jan 18

The government has announced it is committed to setting up a board to improve efficiency in disposing of the NHS estate.

The NHS Property Board will be chaired by parliamentary under secretary of state for health James O’Shaughnessy and will oversee the streamlining of the NHS estate, which costs £8bn to run each year, the government has anounced in its response to the Naylor Review

Streamling will entail the updating of existing properties and disposing of surplus property.

The board was a recommendation in the Naylor Review, published last year, which looked at how to make the best use of the NHS’s buildings and land.

O’Shaughnessy said in the government’s response: “If we want to deliver world-class care, we need world-class buildings in which to deliver it.

“They can be more efficient, more attractive, better maintained and more effectively used to support clinical quality”.

He pledged, in his role as board chair, to “challenge the NHS to do all that they can to bring forward the disposal of unused land and buildings, and reinvest that money into the NHS that the public hold so dear”.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the board would “make sure that the NHS estate is developed and used in a way that supports the delivery of clinical strategies”.

It added that the board would be “adaptable to locally changing demand, new models of care and the integration of clinical services”.

Previously, the NHS estate has been managed by several group including the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI).

The new board will seek to align these groups under one centralised strategic agenda.

The government hopes the board will allow for a clearer vision on estate policies across the primary, community, acute and mental health sectors.

The body will also work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Government Property Unit to ensure that national policies are geared towards disposal of unused NHS property.

NHS property companies NHS Property Services (NHSPS) and Community Health Partnerships (CHP) have fully backed the proposals, the response said.

In addition to this, the government has committed to spending £3.9bn of additional capital by 2022-23.

This will include £2.6bn more to support a Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ (STPs) estates transformation plan.

Another £700m will be used to tackle maintenance issues and upgrade properties in need of redevelopment.

An additional £200m will be used to reduce running costs and support efficiency programmes.

The Naylor Review, published in March last year, suggested the NHS lacked a clear strategic plan for managing its estate and this was standing in the way of funding from the Treasury

Alison Moore examined the possible benefits of selling off the NHS estate for PF in November last year.  

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