NHS property arm NHS Estates is to be restructured once the sale of some of its property portfolio to the private sector has been completed.
Two consortiums led by WS Atkins and Miller Group are in the final stages of bidding for the property, which will be managed as part of a £400m public–private partnership.

The deal effectively means that NHS Estates will cease its trading activities. A Department of Health source said: “NHS Estates won’t be trading in the future.

The NHS is one big family – the question now is where does NHS Estates fit into that family.”

NHS agency Inventures will be the public sector partner in the PPP and NHS Estates will become an adviser on healthcare design.

This means that the agency could be moved back into the Department of Health or it could find that it has its remit changed.

Moving the agency back into Whitehall is seen by some as a political move. An industry observer said: “NHS Estates may feel out of the loop as an agency and think that it may carry a bit more clout if it was in the department.”