I was delighted to see that the important subject of stewardship of the NHS Estate was given such a prominent position ( Dangerous estate (cover feature, 2 December), but dismayed that the article had been written without reference to an NHS estates professional.
Getting the most out of a hospital estate and its support services is an important task at the top of the agenda for estates or facilities directors. This naturally includes disposing of redundant hospital sites, health centres, staff accommodation etc. What a pity Seamus Ward did not quote Capitec (which disposes of the NHS residual estate), estate advisors in the regional offices, NHS Estates itself or a local trust director.
The picture drawn from these sources would have been very different as there is a huge reservoir of talent and experience to advise trust boards in this specialist area.
It may be true that some health service managers are ill-equipped to negotiate property sales, but an experienced estates or facilities director will know how to manage these complex issues to the benefit of the public purse. But it is important the professional charged with these responsibilities is a full member of the trust board with the authority to carry out this task.
Howard Jones Director of facilities East Kent Hospitals trust