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29
Sep

Government’s NHS spending spree continues


As the Conservative Party’s 2019 Conference gets underway in Manchester, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.

 

This new £13bn Health Infrastructure Plan promises to deliver a long-term, rolling five-year programme in health infrastructure, including capital to build new hospitals, modernise the primary care estate and invest in new diagnostics and technology.

 

The plans include building 40 new hospitals across England over the next decade. Six of these have been given the go-ahead today (September 29) for development in 2020-25: Whipps Cross University Hospital (Barts Health NHS Trust), St Helier Hospital (Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust), Leeds General Infirmary (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust), Princess Alexandra Hospital) The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust), Leicester General/Leicester Royal (University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust) and Watford General (West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust). These projects are being funded with a £2.7 billion cash injection of “brand new money from the Treasury.”

 

A further 21 Trusts will receive £100m seed funding to enable them to start working on projects for 2025-30 (see full list below).

 

The package also includes £200m to replace MRI, CT scanners and breast cancer screening equipment, so that no scanner in the NHS is more than 10 years old. The Government has also confirmed that the Department of Health and Social Care will receive a new multi-year capital settlement at the next capital review to develop capacity, plan effectively, get better value for money and deliver on commitments already made.

 

 Matt Hancock says: “For too long we’ve taken a short-term approach to NHS buildings and infrastructure, too often using a PFI system that has hamstrung hospitals for decades. Our new Health Infrastructure Plan is going to change that. Rather than the piecemeal and uncoordinated decisions of the past, we will be taking a strategic approach to improve health infrastructure and set the priorities for the NHS over the long-term.

 

“I’ve seen first-hand the difference that world-class facilities can make for patients. At their best, well-designed wards with the right facilities can speed up recovery, ensure patients receive the right treatment, and get medication on time. The Health Infrastructure Plan will help ensure everyone in our country has access to the best possible healthcare when they need it, wherever they live and whoever they are, for generations to come.”

 

In response, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jonathan Ashworth says that the promise of 40 new hospitals is already unravelling: “This isn’t 40 new hospitals, it is just reconfiguring six.”

 

He adds: “Ministers must now explain if today’s announcement is for completely new projects or ones already planned, what that means for the rest of the NHS capital budget and outline whether existing hospitals or services will close as part of reconfigurations and over what timescale. Given Boris Johnson’s spin of previous health claims, patients and NHS staff will expect total honesty and clarity today.”

 

Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, welcomed the government’s announcement as a “significant and important new commitment.” However, he adds a caveat that the six hospitals receiving immediate funding are not the only ones struggling with crumbling and outdated infrastructure following a near decade in which the NHS has been “starved of capital.” 

 

He says: “To catch up after a decade of capital squeeze and to meet the NHS’s needs, we believe that budget needs to double over the next 5-10 years. That would restore NHS capital spending to the levels of other comparable countries, ensuring safe care for patients and a better working environment for staff. Whilst the extra £3bn spread over the next five years – an average 10% annual increase – is an important and valuable step, there’s still a long way to go.

 

“We will continue to call for a full multi-year capital settlement for the NHS that ensures all types of Trusts across the country can access the capital they need. The NHS also needs a sustainable and transparent approach to prioritising NHS capital, with appropriate local decision making to ensure the money gets to where the needs are greatest.”

 

The 21 Trusts receiving seed funding are:

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Addenbrookes Hospital

Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Various (potentially 12) community hospitals 

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust: Conquest and Eastbourne District Hospitals 

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Royal Hampshire County Hospital and Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital 

Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: The Hillingdon Hospital 

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, St Mary’s and Hammersmith Hospitals

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: James Paget Hospital

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: Kettering General Hospital 

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Royal Preston Hospital

Milton Keynes NHS Foundation Trust: Milton Keynes Hospital

North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust: North Devon District Hospital

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust: Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust: North Manchester General Hospital 

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust: Derriford Hospital 

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust: Royal Berkshire Hospital 

Royal Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust: Royal Cornwall Hospital

Royal United Bath NHS Foundation Trust: Royal United Bath Hospital

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust: Musgrove Park Hospital 

Torbay and South Devon Health Care NHS Foundation Trust: Torbay District General 

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust: Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust: West Suffolk Hospital 

 

The full Health Infrastructure Plan has now been published. Click here to download.

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