The amount of unused floor space on the entire NHS estate is equivalent to that used by nearly 14 trusts, according to the building consultancy EC Harris. They calculate that the NHS could save £3 billion a year by making better use of its vast estates and facilities, matching the efficiency of the top 25 per cent of trusts.
Savings that big would offer significant relief to trusts struggling with the increasing cost of delivering healthcare, and must surely factor as a key strand of meeting the £20 billion efficiency savings highlighted by the Nicholson challenge. NHS management must, as a matter of urgency, start to make better use of their existing property to save money and boost productivity. Staff within NHS trusts should be involved in this process, as they will no doubt have the best idea of what works and what doesn’t.
We have estimated that £3.6 billion could be saved by 2019–20 after adjusting for growth in the overall budget