“The government started with a big and quite vague promise around the new hospitals programme – and it was never clear there was enough money available to do anything like the scale of construction that they wanted to. From the start, the definitions have been confusing and while there has been a substantial amount of rebuilding and development, many of the projects are not entirely new hospitals on new sites. It is extremely unlikely that ministers will meet their target of completing the programme by 2030, and the NAO report adds even more doubt, especially given how slowly this ailing programme has been progressing so far.
“The programme has come after a lost decade of investment in hospital buildings in England. If the money being committed now had been invested a decade ago there is no doubt that the NHS would be in a far better position. Letting hospital buildings languish for this long has meant that the high priority critical list for repairs has ballooned. And instead of being able to make informed choices about where to invest taxpayers’ money in the best care for the future, we’re in a position of needing to spend money on whichever hospital is most dangerous or most likely to fall apart.”
Notes to editors
- The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk.
- For all queries or to arrange an interview, contact: Simon Keen: 07780 475571 / firstname.lastname@example.org; or Eleanor Martin: 07920 043676 / email@example.com