asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance he issues to health authorities as to the extent to which in releasing land no longer required by the National Health Service they should give priority to other medically related uses for such land.
The guiding principle of NHS land sales is that health authorities should seek to realise the full market price in order that this may be re-used to the maximum benefit of the service and its patients. We have recently terminated an arrangement whereby local authorities and certain other organisations providing services complementary to those of the National Health Service were given a prior opportunity to purchase at the district valuer's valuation. This tended to cause delay and in many cases led to health authorities receiving less than would have been obtained through the open market. The National Health Service should not forego capital receipts which can be used for extra capital investment in the service.Arrangements under which NHS property may be leased on concessionary terms to certain bodies providing complementary health oriented services remain in force.