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New guidance issued on COVID-19 capital expenditure

As the NHS moves into the second phase of its COVID-19 response, NHS England/Improvement has tightened the rules on capital expenditure related to dealing with Coronavirus. The new guidance applies to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, CCGs and NHS England direct commissioning.


With effect from May 19, the facility for capital investment of less than £250,000 to be approved retrospectively by the national capital team is to be removed. This category of spend was provided to enable Trusts to move more quickly in the initial COVID-19 response. As the number of capital investment cases requiring urgent decisions to be made is expected to "significantly decrease", the new guidance says "all COVID-19 cases requiring national PDC funding will require national pre-approval."


NHS England is stating a turnaround time of seven calendar days, but in circumstances that are agreed as urgent by the NHS England and NHS Improvement regional director a 48-hour turnaround will be maintained. 


Future bids for COVID-19 capital investment should now be made in the context of the revised capacity plans from regional and system teams. Prior national approval for all plans will now be required to ensure "they will deliver infrastructure aligned to system, regional and national capacity plans."


Any bids that are not clearly and directed linked to second phase capacity plans, or do not constitute necessary additional expenditure directly related to COVID-19 are unlikely to be approved.


The full guidance is available here.