NHS trusts will receive a share of £600m to help ‘eradicate’ the maintenance backlog in NHS hospitals.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said NHS hospital staff, patients and visitors across all regions in England will benefit from refurbished wards, brand-new electrics and upgraded ventilation systems by next spring.
However, NHS Providers chief executive, Chris Hopson, warns that the funding is only a fraction of what is ultimately needed.
‘We welcome the clarity on how this previously announced money will be allocated across NHS trusts to upgrade and refurbish facilities. It is encouraging that the government is recognising the need to invest in infrastructure to maintain safety and transform the NHS estate.
‘Our Rebuild the NHS campaign highlighted the growing problems trusts are facing. Trusts now have a £3.4bn backlog on buildings, machinery and equipment that, without maintenance and repair, present a high or significant risk to patients and staff.
‘So while this £600m is welcome, it can only be a part payment on what is ultimately needed.’
DHSC said the funding has been released to 178 NHS trusts to cover almost 1,800 maintenance projects. The projects are now underway, and will be completed by March 2021.
Secretary of state for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said: ‘Alongside delivering on our manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals and 20 major hospital upgrades across the country, this investment will help our NHS build back better.
‘These crucial maintenance projects will deliver immediate benefits and provide NHS staff with the facilities they need to provide world-class care to their patients this winter, helping ensure the NHS is always there for you when you need it.’
DHSC said trusts were provided with an initial allocation based on need and were asked to put forward suitable projects that would deliver maximum impact and the best value for money, and could be completed by March 2021.
The successful projects are evenly distributed across England, with more than half of projects in the Midlands, North East and Yorkshire; and North West regions.
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