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NHS estate could save billions, consultant says

9 June 2011

The NHS estate is managing its estate better, but it could still save more than £1bn, according to built asset consultancy EC Harris.


The NHS could also sell redundant properties to net another £1bn, noted the consultancy in a document based on an analysis of publicly available data.

The findings come from EC Harris’s second annual ‘NHS Service and Estate Efficiency Report’ entitled ‘Seizing the Opportunity’. 

The amount of underused or empty space is down by nearly a third from over three million square metres in 2008/09 to 2.1 million square metres in 2009/10.

“However, this unused space is still too high, representing 7.4 per cent of the total NHS estate and is the same size as the entire footprint of both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores combined,” noted the report which is not sanctioned y the NHS.

EC Harris also said “the gap between the best and worst performing NHS Trusts was still too high”.

For total occupancy costs - hard and soft facilities management and energy costs - the best performing Acute trust outperforms the ”EC Harris NHS mean” by 24 per cent. The best performing mental health trust is 41 per cent above the mean and the best primary care is 54 per cent above the mean.

Rationalising the supply chain in order to achieve a 15 per cent reduction in service costs would lead to a potential hard FM management saving of £572m a year.

“Through selling just half of the empty and underused space, a capital receipt of over £1bn could be achieved. Even if 50 per cent of these buildings were simply demolished, it would still save up to £248.7m in facilities management and energy costs.”

EC Harris said data was analysed from a range of sources including the Information Centre for Health and Social Care, the Estates Return Information Collection and EC Harris’ own NHS efficiency review data.