Where is the money for crumbling hospitals?

Last week’s budget gave the NHS’s capital budget, used for infrastructure, a boost of £3.4 billion, but there is a catch. It is all earmarked for technology, digital and AI projects and is dependent on productivity increases – that are almost double anything asked for previously.

Meanwhile, parts of NHS buildings are falling on patients and injuring staff. In a single 24-hour period a ceiling collapsed onto a patient in the intensive care unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, and a lift failure at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, resulted in a surgeon breaking a leg.

Matthew Taylor, CEO of the NHS Confederation wrote in the HSJ that although the £3.4 billion is “much-needed and to be welcomed” as well as not beginning until 2025-26, bigger productivity gains “will only be realised if crumbling estates are addressed too; a problem exacerbated by regular raids on the capital budget to fund day-to-day cost pressures.”

The NHS Confederation calls for an extra £6.4 billion in capital funding a year to repair crumbling estates and invest in the latest digital technology and equipment.

Full article in The Lowdown, 23 March 2024