Do you know what the Naylor Report is? Have you even heard ot it? Well, its one of those pieces of NHS business that is conducted in the background – not secret but certainly not headline news. It will radically change the character of the NHS and you won’t know a thing about it until its all over.
If you want to read up on it you can pore through the entire 65 page document at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-property-and-estates-naylor-review; however, a brief summary might get you up to speed. The author of the report, Robert Naylor, was asked to survey NHS “surplus” property with an eye toward increasing revenue. He recommended that anywhere from £2 billion to £5 billion worth of property might be worth disposing. This would include car parks, multi story buildings and redundant hospitals.
Note that last one.
In case the various hospital trusts are reluctant to part with their property, the report recommends a bonus for jumping on board and punishment in the form of denial of use of capital funds for building repair to organizations that refuse to go along.
Although some trusts, for example London area hospitals, may (or may not) be sitting on valuable redundant property, many in more rural areas have no assets other than cottage and community hospitals, which are often important to local communities. How do they get to be redundant? Well you close them.
And if these properties are sold, will the profits go to the local trusts? No, they would be returned to the NHS Property Services, a private corporation that manages and oversees sale of NHS property. There are suggestions that these profits might be used to fund as many as 2500 new houses, possibly for medical personnel, but then that might not happen at all.
The bottom line, and there always is one, is that this kind of sell off is only needed because Jeremy Hunt has determined that the NHS needs to save £22 billion over the next few years. This can be done with so-called efficiency savings, service cutbacks (for example, A&E closures), and of course the sale of property.
If you sell off the store, it will be so much cheaper to operate.