The increase in estates-related problems disrupting clinical services comes despite the government handing out £600m to trusts last year to modernise their facilities, and at a time when the NHS is struggling to bring down elective waiting lists and handle high emergency demand.
Annual figures published by NHS Digital yesterday show nearly 7,000 “clinical service incidents caused by estates and infrastructure failure” in 2020-21. This marks a 15% increase on the previous year, although it is less than the level of growth in 2017-18 (25 per cent) and 2018-19 (22%).
The incidents are defined as infrastructure failures which cause delays, cancellations or other interference with clinical services. This includes issues like power outages, building defects, and even a lack of estates and facilities staff such as porters.
High-risk estate is defined as needing “urgent priority” to prevent “catastrophic failure, major disruption to clinical services, or deficiencies” in safety which are “liable to cause serious injury and/or prosecution”.
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Source: HSJ, 15 December 2021