Headlines, PublicNet: 11 August, 2014

The property industry has urged the UK’s political parties to set out a new vision for the country’s healthcare estate, warning that the country faces a looming crisis in health infrastructure due to changing demographics and pressure on NHS budgets.

The British Property Federation has launched a campaign to highlight the essential role that property investment will play in helping the NHS to meet the challenges and opportunities posed by a growing and ageing population and advances in medical science.

It announced the campaign would be overseen by a new BPF Healthcare Committee, which will work with government and medical professionals on key policy issues relating to the development of GP surgeries, hospitals and property used for the care and accommodation of the elderly. Businesses on the committee, the first in the UK to represent investors across the full range of healthcare assets, have been brought together from across the health sector and provide modern facilities for the NHS and other healthcare providers.

Numerous reports by health professionals have highlighted the need for increased investment. A survey of GPs by the British Medical Association last month revealed the growing crisis in the quality of primary care premises, with 40% of practices reporting that their current facilities are not adequate to deliver services, and almost 70% saying their facilities are too small to deliver extra or additional services.

It is also estimated that more than two-thirds of care homes are unable to deal with the complex medical needs of residents.

The creation of the committee follows several years of increasing institutional investment in modern healthcare property, with the IPD index indicating that it has grown to £3.44bn.

Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Our health service is among the best in the world, but faces a serious challenge over the coming years as it is asked to treat more patients with a smaller budget. Private investment into property will be at the heart of resolving this challenge. Not only is healthcare real estate attractive for long term investors, but it also offers significant contributions to society.

“By providing a unified voice to government on behalf of the real estate industry, we will ensure that it is recognised as an important part of the economy, and of a modern health service, that should not be overlooked. The creation of the Committee proves that private capital is ready and willing to invest in the UK’s health sector, and I hope that our members will play a vital role in shaping the future of the country’s healthcare estate.”