Plans are being drawn up to build 22,000 affordable homes on excess NHS land, according to the head of the new health service regulator.
NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey said the new homes would be offered to health service staff in areas like the capital, where key workers are being priced out of the housing market.
Speaking at the NHS Confederation annual conference in Manchester on Thursday evening, Mr Mackey also said the NHS will be dealing with its financial difficulties for “years”.
Asked how hospitals could meet their workforce plans if key workers could not afford to live in cities such as London, he said: “Colleagues are working on a plan to try and utilise the NHS estate better to provide more affordable housing for NHS staff.
“So, some [Department of Health] colleagues and other specialist colleagues are working on that now,” he told delegates at the conference for health service managers.
Source: Neil O’Connor
“It’s not in the category of being fixed next week or next year but it’s absolutely on the agenda, for another 22,000 units over the next few years,” he said.
He added: “It’s one of those things that’s very regional, so it’s not an issue at all in the North East and maybe not an issue here [in Manchester], but in London and some other places it’s absolutely an issue.”
Sir Robert Naylor, chief executive of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been advising the government and NHS on its use of estates, following recent recommendations made in Lord Carter’s review of hospital productivity.
Data released this week showed trusts in England had sold land worth more than £250m in 2015-16 and had surplus land with a “declared market value” of £334m.