Assura expects NHS demand as portfolio tops £2.4bn

Jayne Cottam, Assura chief financial officer

Assura plc, the Warrington-based healthcare real estate investment trust (REIT), said on Tuesday its portfolio has increased 15% to £2.45 billion amid expectations that NHS demand for services in its buildings will rise significantly to help clear a huge backlog of treatments once the pandemic is over.

“In the short term, the demand for services in our buildings is likely to increase significantly,” Assura’s chief financial officer Jayne Cottam told Reuters, adding that it would take many years to clear the backlog.

“There is a massive backlog of treatments and care that have been put off by the pandemic,” she added.

Reporting annual results for the year ended March 31, 2021, Assura said its passing rent roll rose 12% to £121.7 million and profit before tax rose 37% to £108.3 million.

Assura CEO Jonathan Murphy said: “With an ageing population and challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, NHS services are under intense pressure.

“Well-designed and located community healthcare spaces that meet the ever-changing requirements of GPs and their patients will play an essential role in reducing this pressure on hospitals and the wider health service.

“With our largest ever development pipeline and deep understanding of the NHS, we are well-placed to continue delivering such space and to support it through key emerging trends including digitalisation, the integration of healthcare systems and mental health support.

“The NHS is seeking to become the world’s first net zero carbon health system and we have set tough targets for ourselves, as we believe our contribution to improving health in communities must reach far beyond our buildings.

“After another successful year, we look forward with confidence to progressing our strategy and continuing to deliver value for our shareholders and wider stakeholders.”