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02
Sep

NHS Providers launches campaign for long-term capital funding


A new survey from NHS Providers has found that 82% (161) of NHS Trust leaders think that the current climate of restricted capital funding poses a medium or high risk to patient safety, and could undermine plans to transform the NHS.

 

Despite the Prime Minister’s welcome commitment to allow the NHS to spend an additional £1.8bn, the survey reveals the scale of the challenge of NHS capital funding that still exists, and the direct impact this has on everyone who relies on the health service.

 

The survey also reveals: 

• 97% of respondents are worried about their Trust’s requirement for capital investment

• 94% are concerned that it is affecting patients’ experience of care

• 92% think that the restricted capital environment is impacting on staff wellbeing and recruitment.

 

The findings also highlight deep and widespread concerns over the impact of capital constraints on the ability of the NHS - along with local partners - to transform and modernise the way services are delivered, as set out in the recent Long Term Plan. 97% of Trust leaders said these programmes were at risk.

 

NHS Providers has launched the survey as part of a new campaign calling on the government to address the challenge of NHS capital funding in the forthcoming spending round. The campaign will seek to highlight that the PM’s recent capital announcement can only be considered a first down payment on the NHS’s needs. As a nation, we are now spending less than half the amount on health capital than comparable countries.

 

The NHS’ annual capital budget is now less than its £6bn backlog maintenance bill (which is growing by 10% a year), meaning that issues like leaking roofs and broken boilers, ligature points in mental health facilities and outdated technology cannot be fully addressed – even before any investment can be made in new buildings and services. Per head of population, the NHS has fewer CT scanners than Slovenia, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and the Czech and Slovak Republics, and less than half the number to be found in Latvia, Greece and Iceland.

 

NHS Providers lists some examples of the impact of the capital shortfall. These include the over-stretched emergency department at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust that is now seeing three times as many patients per day as it was built to treat safely, but the Trust has no access to the £50m capital needed to build an up-to-date urgent care hub. 

 

Commenting on the survey and campaign, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, says: “We need to rebuild our NHS, and give our doctors and nurses the tools to create the 21st century health service that patients expect and that we can all be proud of.”

 

NHS Providers wants the government to take three steps:

• Set a multiyear NHS capital funding settlement, which will allow the NHS to plan for the long term and transform its services and equipment

• Commit to bringing the NHS’ capital budget into line with comparable countries - we should be aiming to at least double the NHS current capital spend and sustain that growth for the foreseeable future

• Establish an efficient and effective mechanism for prioritising, accessing and spending NHS capital based on need.

 

Commenting further, Chris Hopson adds: “We know the Government shares our aim of a properly-funded and well-designed system of capital funding, but this support now needs to be translated into urgent action, because the risk to patients is rising every day.”

 

Click here for the full NHS Providers' briefing: Rebuild our NHS - Our asks of the government.

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