"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Saturday, 31 July 2010

NHS Privatisation: PCT properties

Primary Care Trusts currently commission work from hospitals, GPs and community services. The Coalition Agreement said that PCT boards would become elected, but the autocratic Andrew Lansley, behaving like a post-revolution Soviet Commissar, decided that this was not in his already prepared plan and he dismissed it out of hand. Lansley had already decided that as part of his NHS privatisation plans, PCTs would be abolished and that is what would happen.

So what is to happen to the property owned by PCTs? In 2008 an evaluation estimated that PCTs own as much as £36bn worth of property. That's community hospitals, clinics, walk-in centres and some GP surgeries, to you and me. But to s property developer they are a portfolio, and an opportunity to make profits. And to Lansley, PCT properties represent a quick source of cash equivalent to 180% of the cut efficiency savings that the NHS have to make by 2014.

Wouldn't you think that £36bn of property would be important enough to be addressed in the NHS White Paper? No, apparently not. There is not a mention, which means that Lansley plans something that we will not like.

Public Property UK list the options:

  • Local authorities could manage them. This is unlikely, because local authorities may not have the relevant experience.
  • The government could form regional organisations to hold the properties.
  • The government could look for investment partners. This would offer opportunities for sale and leasebacks.
Expect in the next year or so for there to be lots of property developers making fortunes from PCT properties being sold off at knock down prices.

1 comment:

  1. None of the above.

    The PCTs could be converted to community interest companies and remain purely as custodians of the property.

    They may then become members of a regional Health Rental Pool LLP as follows.

    A reasonable, 'affordable', index-linked rental is charged to whoever uses the land/properties, and for whatever purpose.

    A managing partner operates and maintains the properties in return for a proportional equity share in the rental stream.

    The balance of rentals forms a 'rental pool' which may be unitised into proportional units (n'ths) and sold to investors interested in a secure (because affordable) index-linked, land-based, revenue stream.

    Enough billions may then be raised to pay off existing PCT debt, but at a fraction of the cost, because there are no debt repayments, and no compound interest. There are trillions of $, € and £ looking for returns like this.

    The savings in financing costs may then be applied to pay for NHS services.

    Public property should never be sold or mortgaged: but there's nothing wrong with unitising and selling rentals.

    Austerity should apply to unproductive rentiers, rather than productive NHS staff.