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Government must double NHS capital budget to save ‘crumbling’ buildings

Government must double NHS capital budget to save ‘crumbling’ buildings
By Jess Hacker
28 November 2023

The Government must nearly double the NHS’ £7.7bn capital budget if the health service is to clear its building repairs backlog and ensure ‘crumbling buildings’ are fit for 21st century patient care, new analysis has found.

According to the NHS Confederation, it would take around £14.1bn to clear the logjam and enable greater productivity and faster patient care.

It said that capital funding ‘drives productivity’ but the NHS has ‘lagged’ behind other countries in terms of capital investment for decades.

The NHS Confederation called on the Government to boost capital funding by £6.4bn in all three years of the next Spending Review to clear its £10.2bn backlog.

It comes after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was criticised for failing to address the issue in his Autumn Statement last week.

Health leaders have said that increasing capital funding is their top financial priority ahead of the next general election.

Chief executive of the NHS Confederation Matthew Taylor said: ‘Some of our members have parts of their estate that are barely fit for the 19th century, let alone the 21st, so any future Secretary of State for Health and Social Care must make the physical and digital condition of the NHS a priority, if the health service is to reduce backlogs and get productivity levels to where the government want them to be.’

He added: ‘Equipping staff with the right tools, and allowing them to operate in safe, modern, optimised environments will improve efficiency, meaning that an increase to the capital budget will help limit the need for growth in revenue spend, relieve pressure on wider NHS finances and services, and put the NHS on the path to longer-term financial sustainability.’

Earlier this month, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned that they had no confidence that the Government will deliver on the promised made under the New Hospitals Programme (NHP).

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