The LIFT Council has written a letter to the Independent on Sunday in response to their article on the disposal of surplus NHS land and property, a copy of the letter can be found below.

Following your report (29 March) on the sale of surplus NHS land and property it is clear your analysis has overlooked the need not only to dispose of crumbling and redundant infrastructure, but also to upgrade and replace vast swathes of the health estate with modern, fit-for-purpose buildings. Nowhere is this is more evident than in primary care. LIFT Companies, backed by over £2 billion worth of private sector investment, have been instrumental in transforming the face of primary care, building new premises for around 500 GP practices since 2000. The premises not only provide patients with brand new facilities but they also allow an increased range of services from across the public sector to be delivered, delivering much needed integrated care.

Simon Stevens is right to highlight the opportunity of capitalising on the estimated £7.5bn in surplus NHS land and property assets to fund the new models of care set out in the Five Year Forward View. However, we need the appropriate buildings within our communities to accommodate an expanded range services. Whilst it is right to also look to the public service estate to ease the housing crisis, with such an untapped resource we have the opportunity to kick start a vital and much-needed new programme of infrastructure development for healthcare. LIFT Companies, with expertise and partnerships already in place at a local level, should be the first port of call for the Department and NHS England in helping to realise this vision.

Chris Whitehouse


The LIFT Council