Department of Health confirms it is planning to set up a company to take over NHS property

The Department of Health is planning to set up a new national property company to manage the NHS estate.

Under the plan, confirmed by the Department of Health (DoH), the property company - known as ‘PropCo’ - would be wholly owned by the department.

The move is expected to solve the problem of who will take over billions of pounds of NHS property after the primary care trusts are abolished from April 2013.

Industry experts estimate the property portfolio could be as much as 4,000 sites with a book value of up to £4bn.

David Lawrence, Capita Symonds head of health, said the move “makes sense” and has been on DoH’s agenda since the health whitepaper around 18 months ago.

“This answers the question of what they are going to do with the property portfolio held by the PCTs.

“The property company will hold the assets and then allow leases to any qualified NHS provider - who will then become the tenant.”

A DoH spokeswoman said: “Further announcements on PropCo will be made in due course.”