Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged to look into a decision made last week by NHS Property Services to lease a prestigious new HQ in the City Of London at a cost to the taxpayer of well over £1 million, following a challenge by a Bristol MP.
Watch the exchange: scroll to the foot of this page
Karin Smyth contrasted the NHS Property Services move with the threefold increase imposed by the same organisation on the rental bill facing Knowle West Health Park in her Bristol South constituency.
Speaking at Health Question Time in the House of Commons, the Labour MP asked: “NHS Property Services have just signed a million pound lease on a central London location. Can I suggest other properties are available? Would he like me to enquire in my own constituency in Knowle West where NHS Property Services increased rental for the local health park threefold. Better value to the taxpayers is available.”
Jeremy Hunt responded, stating he will look into these matters if Karin Smyth sends him the details.
Karin Smyth said: “The Naylor Review set out a strategy to make better use of the NHS estate. But the signing of a five year lease by NHS Property Services on a prestigious HQ in the City Of London at a cost of well over £1m doesn’t sit well alongside the threefold increase in rent they’ve imposed on Knowle West Health Park.
“The contrast is worrying and can only undermine the credibility of the strategy, and fuel the unhelpful speculation over the government’s intentions for NHS properties across the country.”