Prime minister, Boris Johnson, has announced a £1bn boost to NHS capital spending, allowing existing upgrade programmes to proceed and tackling the most urgent infrastructure projects. The money is part of a new £1.8bn NHS cash injection to help improve patient care, with 20 hospitals across England set to share £850m to upgrade outdated facilities and equipment.
However, healthcare professionals say the new funding risks being “a drop in the ocean,” with nurses, charities and health think tanks all calling for more funding after the prime minister's announcement, saying the money, while desperately needed, is just a fraction of what is required to fix ailing NHS buildings across the UK.
Labour’s shadow health secretary has also claimed the new funding doesn’t go far enough to tackle a £6bn repair bill in the NHS, revealing that new research shows that £4.29bn has been cut from capital budgets to prop up the day-to-day running of the NHS since 2014.
Announcing the new NHS funding, the prime minister said: “I made it my immediate task to make sure frontline services have the funding they need, to make a real difference to the lives of NHS staff, and above all, of patients. Today I’m delivering on this promise with a £1.8bn cash injection – meaning more beds, new wards, and extra life-saving equipment to ensure patients continue to receive world-class care. It’s time to face up to this challenge and make sure the NHS receives the funds it needs, to continue being the best healthcare service in the world.”
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “This is a significant start to the much needed capital investment so that our nurses, doctors and other NHS staff will be able to care for their patients in modern facilities with state of the art equipment.”
Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health and social care secretary, said: “Tory smash and grab raids on NHS capital budgets have now meant over £4bn cuts, leaving our hospitals crumbling with ceilings falling in, sewage pipes bursting and diagnostic waiting times the worst in a decade. Hospitals are now struggling with a repair bill spiralling out of control at a staggering £6bn. No-one will trust what Boris Johnson says unless it is backed up by a clear costed plan to give our NHS the capital investment patients deserve.”
Ben Gershlick, from the Health Foundation charity, said that “years of under-investment in the NHS's infrastructure means the £1.8bn injection risks being little more than a drop in the ocean.” He also warned NHS facilities are "in major disrepair" in England, with a maintenance backlog of more than £6bn.
Nigel Edwards, chief executive at the Nuffield Trust health think tank, said the money "will only be a fraction of what it would cost to really upgrade 20 hospitals,” adding that “nobody should expect shiny new hospitals in their towns any time soon."
The 20 hospitals set to be upgraded, at a cost of £850m, include:
East of England
- Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS FT: £99.5m for a new block in Luton to provide critical and intensive care, as well as a delivery suite and operating theatres;
- Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS FT: £69.7m to provide Diagnostic and Assessment Centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn;
- Norfolk and Suffolk NHS FT: £40m to build four new hospital wards in Norwich;
- NHS South Norfolk CCG: £25.2m to develop and improve primary care services in South Norfolk.
- University Hospitals Birmingham: £97.1m to provide a new purpose built hospital facility in Birmingham.
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust: £21.3m to improve patient flow in Boston by developing urgent and emergency care zones in A&E.
- Wye Valley NHS Trust: £23.6m to provide new hospital wards in Hereford.
- University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust: £17.6m to create three new modern wards to improve capacity and patient flow in Stoke.
- Barking, Havering and Redbridge CCGs and North East London NHS Foundation Trust: £17m to develop a new health and wellbeing hub in North East London.
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust: £12.7m to extend and refurbish critical care units at the Croydon University Hospital, Croydon.
North East and Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System: £57.5m for primary care investment across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
- The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: £41.7m to improve Paediatric Cardiac Services in the North East.
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: £12m to provide a single Laboratory Information Management System across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
- Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust: £72.3m to build a new adult mental health inpatient unit in Manchester.
- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust: £33m to provide a new 40 bed low secure unit for people with learning disabilities.
- Stockport NHS FT: £30.6m to provide a new Emergency Care Campus Development at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.
- NHS Wirral CCG: £18m to improve patient flow in Wirral by improving access via the Urgent Treatment Centre.
- Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust: £16.3m to provide emergency and urgent care facilities at Tameside General Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne.
- Isle of Wight NHS Trust: £48m to redesign acute services for Isle of Wight residents.
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust: £99.9m to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the centre of the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro.
The devolved administrations will receive additional Barnett funding in the normal way; indicative allocations are around £110m for Wales, £180m for Scotland and £60m for Northern Ireland.