The government is planning to establish a new national body to provide “strategic estate planning” for the health service.
Ministers have accepted recommendations made by former University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Sir Robert Naylor as part of his review of NHS estates.
Sir Robert was appointed last year to advise the government over the NHS estate, and said in June that there needed to be better strategic oversight of NHS property.
Health minister Lord O’Shaugnessy has confirmed to the House of Lords that the Department of Health has accepted Sir Robert’s recommendation and will be setting up the new organisation.
Responding to a written question from Labour’s Lord Hunt, published today, the minister said: “The department is developing plans to establish a new NHS property organisation, in response to early recommendations made by Sir Robert Naylor’s ongoing review of the NHS estate. We are committed to ensuring that the new organisation fully supports and reflects the needs and priorities of the NHS.”
He added: “A key function of the new organisation will be to provide a single strengthened source of strategic estates planning expertise for the NHS. This will build on the support that existing teams in NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships have been providing to the NHS locally, including in the development of estates proposals as part of sustainability and transformation plans.
“An external consultant has been appointed to support us in this work.”
Lord O’Shaugnessy said further details on the new organisation, including its form and “models for its future ownership”, will be set out at a future date.
Sir Robert told HSJ last year there was a “misunderstanding about who manages property in the NHS”, pointing out that NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships owned just 15 per cent of the health service estate, but are often thought to own most NHS assets.
“What we need to do is to create a stronger national organisation that oversees the implementation and development of estates strategies over the medium to long term,” he said.
His review is part of efforts by the Treasury to raise £2bn from the NHS estate and to build 26,000 houses on the released land.
Date: 15 MARCH, 2017
Author: SHAUN LINTERN , HSJ