NHS leaders: Government must build 100 new hospitals
In order to solve underfunding issues, NHS leaders have released a new report, urging Boris Johnson to provide the health service with £7 billion more each year and construct 100 new hospitals.
During the election campaign, the Conservatives pledged to build 40 new hospitals and upgrade 20 more, although the party was criticised over the specifics of these pledges.
The report welcomes these new pledges but states they “fall well short of what is needed.”
To support this claim, NHS Providers surveyed NHS leaders to record their opinions on capital investment and the effect this could have on patients.
According to this survey, 97 per cent of NHS leaders said they were “worried” that their organisation’s needs for capital investment would not be met. If these needs were not met, 82 per responded there would be a “medium or high risk” to patient safety.
More widely, 90 per cent of finance directors in the NHS said that the current capital regime was not “fit for purpose.”
In order to address these issues, NHS Providers set out three recommendations: securing a multiyear capital settlement, extended annually and lasting ten years; doubling the funding available to trusts for capital investment and establishing a new mechanism for prioritising, accessing and spending capital funding based on need.
Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, commented on the report by saying: “Despite recent welcome announcements from the government committing to greater investment in infrastructure and facilities, NHS trusts are suffering from years of under-investment in facilities across the English NHS. The situation is now critical for the great majority of organisations and is directly impacting on patients and staff.”
Addressing the need to construct new hospitals, Cordery said: “It’s the time for the biggest building programme in the NHS since the Beatles.”
According to official estimates, the cost of tackling the NHS’s backlog of maintenance has now risen to £6.5 billion across England.
The Department of Health and Social Care responded by saying: “The health infrastructure plan we’ve launched is a long-term, strategic investment in the future of the NHS. It includes the largest hospital building programme in a generation, which will deliver at least 40 new hospitals over the next decade.”