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Friday, 10 January 2014


Some suggest Dame's proceeding piece favoured the Royal Marsden as the underdog. 
In the interests of fair play and balance she reproduces this letter from Joanna Axon of the Royal Brompton. 
Joanna promotes the Royal Brompton case in a pretty cogent way....

I am in receipt of your email dated 18th December addressed to local residents and other stakeholders regarding our proposals.

Royal Brompton Hospital is a world-class provider of healthcare and the UK’s leading centre for heart and lung disease.  Investing in existing and new facilities at the hospital is essential as it is increasingly difficult to provide 21st Century care from the existing campus of buildings.  Our plan is to bring all the hospital’s services and clinical experts onto one integrated building so that we can continue to provide the best care for patients.   The cost of these improvements will be met through the sale of land in the local area owned by the Hospital and the Hospital Charity.  Every penny raised will be reinvested in the new hospital building.

As outlined in the first Community Newsletter, copy attached, we will be seeking planning permission for the development of buildings in our Estate including Fulham wing and South Parade with the intention of disposing of these properties so we can afford the significant capital required to invest in existing and new facilities on our Sydney Street campus.  We believe that our proposals, which both increase and improve the provision of hospital facilities,  meet the Royal Borough’s core planning policy in relation to social and community use.

We need to achieve the highest land sale receipts in order to achieve our plan to create state of the art facilities to continue to provide world-class care for patients.  If we do not obtain sufficient capital funds we cannot provide new facilities for vulnerable patients with Cystic Fibrosis and other respiratory conditions currently cared for in Fulham Wing and we will therefore continue to occupy Fulham Wing.

In your email you state that the hospital has put the property up for sale.  This is not the case. We will not be doing so unless we can realise values that would allow us to carry out our plans.  Further new facilities would have to be operational prior to selling any hospital buildings and therefore the earliest anticipated date would be 2024.

We have a strong working relationship with our healthcare partners at the Royal Marsden.  We also view them as one of our stakeholders in the planning process and therefore we wrote to them together with our other stakeholders in November 2013 regarding our initial plans.  You correctly state that discussions were held with Royal Marsden in 2009 and early 2010, however these were in relation to a 30 bed private patient unit with supporting facilities to be located within a Royal Brompton Hospital new build.  At no time have Royal Marsden sought discussions with us regarding their desire to purchase the Fulham Wing.

Our proposals are still at an early stage and we are committed to a comprehensive programme of engagement during the development of our plans and in advance of submitting planning applications.  We will be holding our first public exhibition in February, invitations will be issued shortly, we look forward to seeing you there.

Yours sincerely

Joanna Axon Msc MRICS
Director of Capital Projects & Development


  1. Hospital Patient10 January 2014 at 17:23

    Echos of Holland Park School. "We need to sell the playground for the best price possible in order to be able to afford a new school".

    In life there are fundamentals. Hospital land in a city center, once sold, can never be replaced. This is part of the family silver. It must be kept to provide the possibility for future generations of health care. Royal Brompton must argue its case with Central Government about the need to finance new facilities. Just like every other NHS hospital in the land

  2. Here we go again. Some Clever Dick administrator, out of her depth from the hospital world and now dabbling in "Director of Property Development" has the bright idea that she can flog off the hospital land for £ billions and make the lives of her doctor bosses more comfortable. She will become a peer group hero and be given free medical cover for life because the doctors won't have to spend time arguing their case for funding with the Department of Health and the Treasury.

    These scruffy little games need to be snuffed out.

  3. The proceeds from the sale of this NHS land should go into the central pot for spending where it is most needed in the NHS. If the Brompton doctors can make the case that their plans and ambitions are the most deserving of the funding, then they should get the money. Otherwise it should go to A & E at Charing Cross Hospital (for example)

    1. Sadly the likes of A&E at Charing Cross are being closed for political reasons, not financial ones.

  4. Ms Axon appears to be a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Enough said.

    As Hospital Patient says, it's the Holland Park School scenario version 2.

  5. This is an example of what can happen when decentralising decisions from Central to Local level. Locals can go wild with their new power without understanding the wider picture which they were never required to think about. Brompton sits on a community asset of land with huge value. Some "clever" person has decided it would be a good idea to sell it. Compare this with the Royal Liverpool Hospital, sitting on land with no value. Their medical need for funds to modernise could be much greater than Brompton hospital. But they do not have the option of selling land because theirs is worthless.

    "I'm all right, Jack" is what comes to mind concerning our friends at the Royal Brompton.

    1. 17.41 makes a profound point. And it brings to mind the refurbishment of Holland Park School. The Government had a programme for renewing old schools called "Building Schools For The Future". But K&C would have to make its case and decisions to release funds naturally went to the most needy schools first. Since HPS was judged to be in the top quartile of schools in Britain it would have taken time for the funding to come through. But Cockell was in a rush to make a splash as part of his campaign to get a "gong". He could not afford to wait. So he sold the playground and spent £100 million on a school that did not need to be rebuilt and should only have cost £30 million even if it was rebuilt.

      Localism is a great thing. But we need safeguards against stupidity and abuse

    2. Since when did the NHS transfer ownership of the freehold of the Royal Brompton and Royal Marsden sites to those respective foundation trusts? The land still belongs to the people. Any decision to sell off this land will have to be taken by the Secretary of State, not the governors of the hospitals - but hey, that's Jeremy Hunt, isn't it? Oh well ...

  6. Rationalise assets and maximise their economic benefit for the public good, in this case, modernsing and expanding the hospital for the 21st Century, is what seems to be going on here. Alternatively, here is a novel thought - let's tax the hell out of everybody even more and give it to the RB to do this. 'Clever Dick Administrator' or incredibly narrow minded twit? I think the latter.


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