NHS Property Services Ltd (PropCo) is an unaccountable body currently owned by the government. It was set up in December 2011, and began activity in April 2013 coinciding with the start of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) and the resulting creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) .
Following the HSCA, NHS land and buildings that had been previously owned by Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts (both of which had been abolished by the HSCA) was transferred to CCGs, land and buildings identified as
surplus were transferred into PropCo.
Surplus buildings were defined as any building where 51 percent or more of the work carried out in the building was administrative rather than clinical in nature.
A simplified picture of NHS property
Before the 2012 Health and Social Care Act
Land and buildings are owned by Foundation Trusts , Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).
After the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and the creation of PropCo
Some land and buildings are still owned by Foundations Trusts, but the land and buildings previously belonging to SHAs and PCTs are transferred to CCGs, with some (the
surplus) being transferred to PropCo. In 2017 the Naylor Report proposed using financial coercion to induce Foundation Trusts to sell their
surplus land and buildings.
PropCo receives no government funding and generates its income from leasing the NHS property it was given back to the NHS (to be used by hospitals and GP practices etc.) at market rates (including rents and property management charges). It also leases the property in its portfolio to other (non-NHS) users. It also generates income from selling-off NHS property.
When NHS land or property is sold, it means that public land and infrastructure once available to the NHS at minimal cost for the expansion of hospitals or other health provisions is no longer available.
PropCo is currently owned entirely by the government. However, it can at any point sell off up to all but one of its shares to private investors. As PropCo was set up with just one share valued at £1, the government could issue another 99 shares at £1 each, and by selling these to private investors, transfer almost complete ownership, and total control, of huge NHS assets to private owners at almost no cost.