I read with interest both your cover line, How Europe s richest landowner sells itself short, and the related article.
NHS Estates has a key role, not only in implementing the government s modernisation agenda but in managing and disposing of the land and buildings no longer required for patient care, some of the dangerous estate referred to.
While the article outlined clearly the historic background, it missed an opportunity to build on the lessons learned. NHS Estates has been working with stakeholders at government, NHS and industry levels to produce innovation in estates management to ensure that money will not be spent on supporting assets inappropriately . These ideas address many of the issues raised.
One of the specific areas mentioned was the way capital charges work. Of the amount of space used for non-clinical purposes, David Jones of the Association of Health Asset Management said: There is no incentive to rectify the balance. This is not so, as trusts have an incentive to reduce revenue costs, including capital charges, to meet efficiency targets which are set for NHS commissioning authorities and managed through service agreements.
Without these reduced costs, trusts may fail to meet their financial duties. It is true that trusts may not have a direct incentive to generate capital receipts, but the incentives are all around reduced revenue costs.
With NHS Executive backing, we are on the threshold of a key development to deliver improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the procurement, operation and disposal of the NHS estate. Although still subject to the Treasury's public services productivity panel review , these ideas have been brought together in Sold on Health , which we hope to publish shortly.
We believe Sold on Health is the blueprint for further positive change.
Kate Priestley Chief executive NHS Estates