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21
Sep

Labour warns of ‘billion pound fire sale’ of NHS assets


The Labour party has published new research that shows the amount of NHS land under consideration for sale has risen by 31% in the past year to 1,750 hectares. 

 

Over a two year period, the amount of land for sale has risen by 320%, meaning there is now more than four times as much NHS land for sale compared to 2015/16. In addition, 140 sites currently used for clinical or medical purposes are now identified as surplus – an increase of 20% on last year. 

 

The report includes 43 sites with a market value in excess of £1 million. The Labour party also says the Government has refused to make details public for 42% of the available area in its annual round-up of NHS Surplus Land, for “issues of sensitivity.” With just 100 (or one in seven) of the sites published with a market value amounting to £221.7m, Labour calculates this suggests a total value of land for sale of well over £1bn.

 

Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth says: “With hospitals crumbling in desperate need of repair and renewal the Government must provide the capital investment our NHS now clearly is crying out for, rather than forcing stretched hospitals into a fire sale of assets.

 

“Patients who want good local hospital services will be alarmed at this huge rise in the amount of NHS land being put up for sale.

 

“Hospitals are struggling to cope with years of cutbacks from the Tories. The answer should be a serious long-term government-funded investment plan, not selling off the NHS’s family silver.

 

“What’s more, with details withheld for so many of the sites for sale, it simply adds to the sense that this Government is driving through a secret fire sale of valuable assets.

 

“All this uncertainty and rumours of deals behind closed doors are clearly not good for the long term sustainability of the NHS. Ministers must provide the capital funding that the NHS needs in the Budget this autumn, so that hospitals can start tackling the huge repair backlog they face and invest in the future equipment and technology which modern patient care demands.”

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