HSJ Exclusive: Capital billions promised by ministers fail to reach ‘front line’

An investigation by the HSJ has found that only a fraction of the £2.5bn of capital funding announced and allocated by the government for the NHS since 2017 has actually been released to the service.

The research suggests that less than £100m has been distributed to local providers over the last two years, which equates to just 3% of the total funding listed in several headline-grabbing media announcements.

The HSJ findings are supported by data contained in the Department of Health and Social Care accounts. Prime minister Boris Johnson named “20 new hospital upgrades” among the early priorities for his government, although no detail has so far been provided.

HSJ notes that its findings highlight how the impression given by ministers’ announcements in recent years contrasts starkly with the reality that relatively small amounts of money have actually being released.

For example, the announcement of a “first wave” of funding in July 2017 was headlined “£325m invested in NHS transformation projects”. Two years on, only around £48m of that money has so far been received by the bidders, with more than half the organisations still waiting for the money to be released. Out of 145 schemes approved through all four “waves” of the £2.5bn, just 25 have started receiving the funding.

Full story in the HSJ, 30 July 2019