We need to ensure that our estates – the buildings we use for health and care in south east London – are what we need now and into the future.

Across south east London we provide health services in more than 400 buildings. This includes a number of new, modern PFI hospitals alongside older hospital estate, with some buildings housing inpatient services dating back to the 1800s.

Of the more than 200 buildings located outside main hospital sites, many have reached the end of their useful lives, are in the wrong place, or are difficult to change and adapt to meet future needs.

We are starting to work together across organisational boundaries better so that we can share our estates. We want to make sure that, as far as possible, services are in the right place, and in buildings which are big and flexible enough to accommodate health and care needs now and in to the future. For instance, we want services that are close to each other, limiting the need for travel. Our buildings need to be accessible for people in wheelchairs or with other physical needs, in locations that are easy to reach by public transport.

We also have a duty to ensure value for money from our estate. At the moment we have some buildings which we could use better. For instance, where non-clinical administrative and support staff are using vital clinical space. We know that many community properties are underutilised, with empty space being estimated at more than 46,000 sqm (4 %) of our provider estate and 1,800 sqm (6%) of community services.To put this in perspective, 40,000 sqm is the equivalent to an average hospital.

We are analysing the primary and community estate that the NHS owns in south east London:

  • to see whether it is in an area of expected growth
  • how much it costs
  • what condition it is in
  • how well used it is
  • whether it can be flexible enough to support new ways of working and shared services

This will help us to decide how to make the best use of the properties we own. We will consider whether they are fit for purpose or could be used differently. In some cases we will consider disposing of the estate and using the money raised to invest in the estate we do need. .

By working together we can make sure we are getting the best from what is available in south east London.