Knowle West Health Park rent rise highlighted

A threefold increase in the rental bill facing Knowle West Health Park was highlighted in the House of Commons when Bristol South MP Karin Smyth challenged Ministers to guarantee the Park’s long-term future.

The Labour MP told the Commons that Knowle West Health Park is exactly the sort of community-based model that should be promoted as the NHS looks to implement its future sustainability and transformation plans.

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“Knowle West Health Park was established by the NHS and the council to prevent illness, to promote good health and to assist recovery after medical treatment,” Karin Smyth told MPs at Health Questions (7 February).

“However, the NHS Property Services regime means that its bill has increased more than threefold—from £26,000 to £93,000.”

This follows a change in the way NHS Estates are managed which opens many health facilities to market rents.

The Labour MP sought assurances that in future the government will ensure co-operation on estates planning, so that local people who rely on the health park’s contribution to preventing ill health can face the future with confidence.

Responding for the government, Health Minister Philip Dunne told MPs the government was providing more money to local health commissioners to offset the increases. He also confirmed that Sir Robert Naylor’s long-awaited report into the future management of the NHS estate will be published ‘shortly’.

Karin Smyth added: “Knowle West Health Park is a vital local facility and those who use it need to know that these rental increases will not have a negative impact on the services provided by the health professionals working there.

“I will be closely following future government announcements about its plans for the NHS estate and the impact this will have on services in South Bristol closely in Parliament.”