More than 160 NHS leaders say a lack of investment is putting patients at risk of harm at their NHS trust

30 August 2019

A new survey released today by 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.

82% (161) of NHS trust leaders think that the current climate of restricted capital funding poses a medium or high risk to patient safety.

   

The survey also reveals: 

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.

The NHS’ annual capital budget is now less than its £6bn backlog maintenance bill -which is growing by 10% a year.

   

The survey is launched as part of a new campaign by NHS Providers 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10% a year), meaning that issues like leaking roofs and broken boilers, ligature points in mental health facilities and outdated technology cannot be fully addressed – even before any investment can be made in new buildings and services.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, we have fewer CT scanners than Slovenia, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and the Czech and Slovak Republics, and less than half the number you will find in Latvia, Greece and Iceland.


Specific examples of the impact of the capital shortfall include: 

 

Commenting, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

“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 is calling for three steps to be taken by the government:

  1. Set a multiyear NHS capital funding settlement
  2. Commit to bringing the NHS’ capital budget into line with comparable countries
  3. Establish an efficient and effective mechanism for prioritising, accessing and spending NHS capital based on need

 

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.

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

Commenting further, Chris Hopson said:

“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.”


Read an article from NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hospon which sets out why it is time to rebuild the NHS and create a 21st century health service. 

 

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