Alarming increase in NHS maintenance backlog bill

07 January 2021

Responding to the latest data from NHS England and NHS Improvement on the costs of providing and maintaining the NHS estate, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

"These figures show there's been an alarming 40% increase in the NHS maintenance backlog bill from £6.5bn to £9bn in the space of a year. It shows how rapidly our very old NHS estate is falling into disrepair, putting patient lives at greater risk and making it much more difficult for frontline staff to provide the right quality of care.

"The backlog is now broadly equivalent to the annual cost of running the entire NHS estate.

"More worrying still, over half of this is for work of 'high' or 'significant' risk.

"In short, this problem poses an increasing threat to safety.

"It's also impacting directly on the response to the pandemic.

"Lots of members are reporting how difficult it is proving to expand capacity at pace, provide appropriate oxygen support and ensure high quality infection control in old, outdated buildings.

"There are particular concerns over the need to modernise or replace many mental health facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.

Unfortunately it is patients and service users who are paying the price for this backlog, reflected by the sharp rise in clinical service incidents.

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

"Unfortunately it is patients and service users who are paying the price for this backlog, reflected by the sharp rise in clinical service incidents.

"Through our 'Rebuild our NHS' campaign we have highlighted the urgent need for trusts to access capital funding to deal with quality and safety concerns, carry out important maintenance and to invest in buildings and facilities to meet growing demand and changing long term needs."

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