Prime minister Theresa May is considering setting up an NHS-owned housing association as part of proposals put forward by an independent review into the health service.
Revealed in an interview with the BBC, the Conservative leader said she backed plans put forward in the Naylor Review, published in March, that included the possibility of setting up a housing association to take advantage of NHS land.
In an interview with the Andrew Neil, the PM said: ’We’re backing the proposals in the Naylor report.’
Robert Naylor was announced as the government’s estates tsar in February 2016 and has advocated unlocking private capital to develop primary care businesses.
Published in March, the Naylor Review into the NHS estate identified a £5billion backlog in maintenance within the body, and noted that the estate itself is highly fragmented with NHS property services and the community health partnerships between them owning only 15 per cent of the total land.
The report cited ‘significant’ opportunities in commercially executed disposals of NHS land, which could generate between £2billion and £5.7billion. It also stated that land should be prioritised for NHS staff homes.
The report said: ’The NHS Property Board should produce improved guidance on estates planning and disposals for the NHS, covering the scope of estates planning, accessing private sector expertise, models for affordable housing for NHS staff and partnerships with both housing associations and developers.’
It added: ’Robert proposes that new homes are leased for a period consistent with an employee’s NHS contract. One option for delivery is the creation of a bespoke NHS housing association.’
Using analysis by consultancy firm Deloitte, the report said the NHS could, over time, release enough land to build up to 40,000 homes.