Published: 26/09/2002, Volume II2, No. 5824 Page 6 7

Trusts have been warned against 'selling off the family silver' as they dispose of£700m worth of surplus property.

A report from the Commons public accounts committee last week warned: 'Given the price of land, especially in London, and shortages of accommodation for nurses and other essential workers, too aggressive a disposals policy risks high costs in the future as operational needs change.'

Trusts need to pay attention to long-term strategies and other options such as leasing land and buildings, it said. Trusts own 95 per cent of the NHS's estimated£23bn estate and are expected to sell off£700m-worth in the three years to March 2003.

Committee chair Edward Leigh MP told HSJ: 'The implication of our report is that the NHS is selling too much. We need to make sure we are not getting rid of the family silver.' Money raised from selling NHS property should be ring-fenced and reinvested in estates rather than ploughed into the general health service, he said.

www. parliament. uk/commons/ selcom/pachome. htm