48 new hospitals? Only one by 2025

There is meagre progress in the Johnson government’s repeated promise to build first 40, and more recently 48 “new hospitals” and they will not be delivered before the next election according to the lastest estimates.

Last year the New Hospitals Programme called for plans for the six new “large hospital builds” (which ministers had claimed in 2019 had received funding to go ahead at once) to be resubmitted, each also including a plan with costs cut back to £400m – questioning the viability of the schemes.

Now research by the HSJ has revealed that only one of the six, Epsom & St Helier in SW London, stands any chance of being completed by the original target date of 2025. Three others – Barts (Whipps Cross Hospital), Leeds, and West Hertfordshire – are expecting to complete some time in 2026 or later, while schemes in Leicester and Harlow (Princess Alexandra) now lack even a target date.

Seven other schemes from the repeatedly revised and expanded list (which includes numerous extensions and refurbishments, passed off as “new hospitals” in accordance with NHS England’s PR “playbook”) are expected to be finished by 2025. 

Full story in The Lowdown, 19 January 2022