NHP delays may be impacting patient safety


NHS Providers is concerned that millions of pounds every month are being drained from scarce NHS funds due to ongoing delays to the New Hospital Programme (NHP) that promised 40 new hospitals in England by 2030.

Spiralling cost pressures, on-hold building projects and the bill for having to patch up deteriorating sites sees some Trusts in the NHP forking out upwards of £1m a month from under-pressure budgets.

One year on from the Government's renewed commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, Trust leaders have warned that, despite some progress, uncertainty over funding and shifting timetables risks putting their promised buildings even further out of reach.

Furthermore, Sir Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of NHS Providers cautions the issues with the NHP are just part of the much bigger problem that is the scale of underinvestment in the NHS estate. “More than 100 Trusts applied to join the NHP and the NHS repairs bill is now at a staggering £11.6bn, much of it high risk. We cannot afford to let this problem get worse,” he insists.


Trust leaders are warning than crumbling estates and out-of-date equipment not only hamper care for patients, but also lead to staff becoming more demoralised. In addition, public confidence is being undermined by the delays to the NHP.

Some Trust leaders involved in the NHP have voiced their frustrations to NHS Providers:

• "Further delays are only going to introduce further patient harm, disappoint our colleagues and increase costs to the taxpayer"

• "Our teams are coming in, day-in day-out, to infrastructure that is not fit for purpose. We don't have the facilities to treat patients in the way that any of us aspire to"

• "In the past three years, we've seen a 25% increase in costs; that's £200m more today than it would have cost three years ago"

• "Many of the new hospital plans have been around for a decade – we must now be given the opportunity to ensure all the plans align with modern healthcare provision."

Trust leaders are looking to the next government to commit to the current hospital building programme, as any delays caused by going back to the drawing board after the general election would be costly and undermine patient care.

"As we head towards a general election, trust leaders want a cast-iron commitment from all political parties to an NHS infrastructure programme that meets the needs of hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services. Patients, hard-working NHS staff and taxpayers deserve nothing less," Sir Julian Hartley adds.

Commenting on this issue, UNISON Head of Health Helga Pile describes the “promises” of a new hospitals programme as “more political spin than substance,” adding that: “Ministers are failing to plan and finance critical upgrades to buildings across the NHS, leaving Trusts with huge bills and hospitals in no fit state to deliver modern healthcare.” 

Have Your Say

There are currently no comments for this article