EXCLUSIVE: Cornwall’s secret plan to raise more than £11 million by selling hospitals – building 206 houses instead

EXCLUSIVE: Cornwall’s secret plan to raise more than £11 million by selling hospitals – building 206 houses instead

Posted 8th February 2019

By Graham Smith

The sale of Cornwall’s community health facilities is expected to bag £11.17 million, according to NHS England.  The sites will be used to build 206 houses.

The cash which will stay in Cornwall, however, is nearly £400,000 less than the market value.  Whitehall plans to keep the surplus.

NHS Kernow, however, is still refusing to publish full details of the sales, as it has yet to start a public consultation procedure over the loss of services.  Health chiefs are working with Cornwall Council to maximise the “planning gain” – granting permission for new development – to enhance the value of the sites.

NHS Kernow is however still refusing to answer a Freedom of Information request to publish its Estates Strategy, claiming that it has a publication plan which will reveal the detail of its proposals this autumn.  The plan has been ready for nearly a year and was submitted to Whitehall last July.

Cornwall Council, which has a “watchdog” role to play as a statutory consultee, has so far turned a blind eye to the loss of services.  But some councillors might now think that officials are simply delaying publication of the Estates Strategy for purposes which are political, rather than clinical.

It is known, however, that the document focusses on St Barnabas hospital, Saltash, Fowey hospital and Edward Hain hospital, St Ives.  St Barnabas and Fowey had Minor Injury Units.  Edward Hain provided about 12 community beds.

All three buildings have been closed “as a temporary measure” for more than two years – Edward Hain has been closed for three years – and Cornwall’s health chiefs are now coming under pressure to officially declare them “surplus” to requirements.

Worryingly, there are two other sites, not yet publicly identified, which NHS Kernow’s Estates Strategy also lists among the assets to be sold.

NHS England replied to NHS Kernow in November and Cornwall Reports has now obtained a copy of the Whitehall response.  It tells the Cornwall health bosses to “Maintain integration of the health strategy with council strategic development strategic development plans for housing.”  You can download the NHS England response here:FOI 72350 STP36. Estate Strategy Feedback Template Cornwall the Isle of …

Under the heading “Disposals” NHS England tells NHS Kernow:

 To complete the disposal of sites that are already vacant and declared surplus.

 Develop plans to bring forward disposals that require more work.

 Continue to rationalise the dispersed estate.

Despite being heavily redacted, the NHS document reveals that Cornwall is likely to contribute only 0.34% towards the national “Naylor Target” of £3.3 billion, to be achieved by closing and selling hospitals.

 

 

Page 5 of the NHS England response confirms that three sites are “vacant, declared surplus” and that two others – yet to be publicly identified – are under consideration.

NHS England says the actual value of the estate to be sold is £11.6 million.  But Cornwall’s health community will get only £11.17 million.

NHS England says the actual value of the estate to be sold is £11.6 million.  But Cornwall’s health community will get only £11.17 million.

NHS England says it “articulates this ‘share’ of land disposal as associated with 206 housing units.”
NHS England congratulates NHS Kernow on itsEstates Strategy, saying: “Overall, this is a good strategy showing the integration of estates planning into system thinking and governance. There are broad, ambitious plans with timings. The document is light on details.”

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