This joint briefing from the Nuffield Trust and Policy Exchange presents an agenda to make capital investment deliver real benefits for the NHS in England.
Capital spending is used to construct facilities and buildings, such as new hospitals or GP surgeries, to purchase and maintain equipment and IT, and to fund research and development (R&D). But the UK is an international outlier in having very low levels of capital spending on health. This has been worsened by raids on capital budgets to shore up revenue. Between 2014 and 2019, that amounted to over £4 billion.
The briefing sets out ideas for accelerating delivery against the government’s 2019 manifesto pledge to build 48 new hospitals by 2030 (which is not on track). It discusses what a strategic approach to capital would look like, and how to avoid the mistakes which left us with slow and inadequate buildings in the past. It was presented to key Ministers and advisors as the government under Rishi Sunak took office with a historic opportunity to translate the capital budget into real improvements.