Meet PropCo who are set to oversee a GBP5.2bn sell off of NHS land
by Dr Éoin Clarke (PhD)
NHS Property Services, is a brand new property company set up by Andrew Lansley, and it will very soon have assets of £5,200,000,000. PropCo as it is otherwise known is now listed at Companies House as a standalone company. It is confiscating all surplus NHS land throughout England and pooling it into one stand alone company- itself. It will receive no funding from the Department of Health and is expected to generate its own income by selling land, NHS land. Its property portfolio is due to expand quite rapidly in the coming years as it confiscates NHS land especially from PCTs that fail to convert to Foundation Trusts. Already, 591 hectares of NHS land is up for sale to private developers but this is expected to increase sharply. All Primary Care Trusts which are due to be abolished are now legally required to hand over their (non-clinical) surplus land to PropCo. The company will employ 2,500 staff and 22 of its employers will have income of £100,000 or above. The Tories have not ruled out selling PropCo to private investors. As it stands it is the largest sell off of NHS land in the history of the state. Going forward, it is set to be the largest one off private sector takeover of the NHS since its formation. It is the equivalent of 10 large hospitals and the portfolio's value is the equivalent of nearly 5% of the NHS's annual budget.
If, and when, PropCo is sold to private investors it will represent one of the largest ever sell offs of government land. In future the Clinical Commissioning Groups, if they wish to expand NHS services, will no longer be able to use the surplus land currently available. Instead, they will have to source land from private developers at commercial rates. Needless to say, private investors are rubbing their hands with glee at this double bonanza. Not only is some private construction company about to end up very rich indeed (pending the successful acquisition of PropCo) but equally property developers have now gained a valuable new customer in the NHS who will have to trade commercially for any new expansions they wish to make. Needless to say if CCGs are required to source land privately it will push their costs up, thus leaving less money to actually treat patients. I should point out that property investors are now the number 1 donors to the Tory Party.