Are the Conservatives making hospitals sell off NHS property to the private sector? Yes, but as with most things, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The Naylor report came out in March to little fanfare, but has gained some attention recently after Theresa May confirmed she planned on following the independent report’s recommendations.
The basic message of the report was ‘sell some NHS land and buildings and use the money to improve the rest’. A bit like mortgaging some of your properties in Monopoly to build houses and hotels on the oranges. NHS trusts in England own property assets worth £9-11 billion, and NHS Property Services (a government-owned company) owns even more.
The Naylor report says the NHS needs around £10bn more to meet its capital fund needs. Capital funding is for things like new building and MRI scanners, compared to current funding which goes on day-to-day stuff like. staff wages, medicines and plasters.
According to the report, £2.7bn could be raised by selling off bits of NHS property, with the potential for more if planning permission and other things went favourably. The more controversial suggestion is the recommendation that trusts should be blocked from getting central capital funding, unless they make plans to sell up.
The net result of this would mean less land and buildings for the NHS, but more money to be spent on updating and repairing other properties. For those of you worried about whether your hospital will be selling its dialysis unit to pay for new beds in A&E, the report specifically says sales should only happen after “a full clinical case for change”.
This translates to ‘sell buildings you don’t need to pay for better services; don’t sell building you definitely need.’ As a further incentive to get the best deal for a property, the Treasury will double the revenue a hospital gets from selling any assets e.g. they’ll get £10mn for a £5mn sale.
The decisions of the Naylor report will all be implemented locally so make sure you keep an eye on what your local hospitals’ governors and trustees are doing. As long as hospitals are only selling off buildings that are unused or unneeded, the Naylor report has the potential to benefit the NHS. If hospitals start selling off needed buildings to balance budgets, that could be a problem. If you’re at all worried, get in touch with your local representatives if you’re worried about what is happening in your area.
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