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NHS property plans could be delayed by election, developers warn

Plans to release NHS-owned land and buildings for commercial use are likely to be further delayed, after the release date for a report on the UK’s health system was made unclear as a result of parliament breaking up for the general election campaign.

The Department of Health was due to report its findings into public health in July, but the June general election means that the report is likely to be delayed until later in the summer at he earliest.

The project, known internally as Phoenix, is thought to signal an overhaul of the way in which healthcare services are procured and run. It is believed that the report would review the system and propose to split the country into six regions so that buildings could be run more centrally. The government is looking to raise £5bn from the sale of public land by 2020.

The proposals were expected to speed up the release of land and buildings to the open market as more surplus stock was identified across the NHS estate. This could then have been bought by developers looking to build much-needed homes, or bought by the private sector to be improved and then leased to local health services.

Currently, buildings are run and leased to service providers by LIFT Partnerships, which bring together local public health bodies and private sector providers, working with NHS Property Services.

Property professionals have warned that the general election could cause further delays to the implementation of the new system. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, one developer, who did not want to be named, said the report was also supposed to clarify the way the estate would be managed in the future.

“This could have also paved the way for private healthcare companies to acquire property to provide better local services,” he said. “These things take long enough as they are without further delays.”