There is a lot of valuable real estate in the NHS, particularly in urban areas around London and the South East. Last week, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in an interview with Health Service Journal that the Government is considering ‘incentives’ to encourage trusts to sell surplus land.
It is certainly true that there is significant value in NHS land and property that needs to be unlocked. Selling unused property and land is one (and sometimes the best) way in which to do this and I welcome the Government starting the discussion. Here are a few other ideas:
Create revenue streams
We are working with a number of trusts who are exploring the idea of earning money from their real estate rather than selling it. This often takes the form of partnership, eg developing healthcare facilities alongside commercial space, or leasing space to create a regular income.
Long term savings will be generated by changes in behaviour and in how we think about property. Property sharing will become more common. Remote working, desk-sharing, longer working hours, different working patterns, technology advances – these are already having an impact and the pace of change will accelerate.
Take an integrated approach
Looking strategically at your real estate means thinking about more than just the land and property. One of the most important things I can do for my clients is to consult my colleagues, eg in healthcare planning and capital development. Are we making the best use of the whole estate? How can we make it more flexible and sustainable? This joined up approach enables us to really maximise value and make every square metre of the estate count.