NHS: £11.6bn spent on repairs to hospital buildings in the past year

The NHS has been forced to splash the cash, with urgent repairs needed for hospital buildingsThe NHS has been forced to splash the cash, with urgent repairs needed for hospital buildings
The NHS has been forced to splash the cash, with urgent repairs needed for hospital buildings
NHS buildings and equipment are "in a very bad way" according to one chief executive.

The bill for essential repairs across the NHS estate climbed to £11.6bn last year, new figures have revealed.

Also known as the maintenance backlog, the figure reflects how much it would cost to restore buildings to certain standards, covering everything from leaky gutters to faulty lifts and the very fabric of hospital buildings. Data released by NHS England revealed the bill was £11.6bn for 2022/23, an increase of 13.6 per cent from the £10.2bn reported for the previous 12 months.

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Of the total, £2.4bn was earmarked to eradicate the "high risk" backlog, with £3.4bn for "significant" risks.

NHS Providers chief executive Sir Julian Hartley said: "The bill for a long ‘to do’ list of essential repairs across the NHS continues to grow at an alarming rate. The cost of trying to patch up creaking buildings and out-of-date facilities is rocketing. Far too many NHS buildings and equipment are in a very bad way and the latest figures show the situation is just getting worse.

"The safety of patients and staff is at stake. To provide first-class care the NHS needs safe, efficient and reliable buildings, facilities and equipment."

Publication of the figures come after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed there are 42 sites in the NHS estate with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac). Sir Julian said the presence of the collapse-risk concrete "is a symptom of a far bigger and long-running problem".

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"Many trusts – mental health, community, hospital and ambulance services – need major investment to refurbish ageing buildings and tackle risks to the safety of patients and staff," he added. "We need the government to shift gear and inject a significant shot in the arm of capital investment in the NHS."

A DHSC spokesman said: "We have invested significant sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care for patients, including £4.2bn this financial year. Trusts are responsible for prioritising this funding to maintain and refurbish their premises, including the renewal and replacement of equipment.

"This is on top of the £3.7bn made available for the first four years of the New Hospital Programme and a further £1.7bn for over 70 hospital upgrades across England alongside a range of nationally-funded infrastructure improvements in mental health, urgent and emergency care and diagnostic capacity."

Liberal Democrat health and social care spokeswoman Daisy Cooper said: "Once again, it’s patients waiting in pain who are paying the price for Conservative chaos. As they fight like rats in a sack, people across the country are forced to languish for hours in pain and deal with hospital buildings crumbling around them.

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"These latest figures should act as a stark warning to us all that the NHS could be heading for yet another winter crisis. No-one should be forced to put up with these intolerably long waits but under this Conservative government they have become the norm."

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