Implementation of Boris Johnson’s flagship pledge to build 40 new hospitals is “moving at a glacial pace” and is hamstrung by delays and a lack of funding, NHS bosses have warned.
Some of the construction schemes have already fallen as much as four years behind schedule, while others have been hit by massive cost increases because of difficulties in obtaining sign-off on certain points.
The new hospitals programme in England is progressing so slowly that bosses of half of the hospitals earmarked to benefit doubt whether they will ever get the money to deliver the promised rebuild, according to a report and survey of health service trust chiefs by NHS Providers.
One hospital in a rural area had to send seriously ill patients to other hospitals as much as 50 miles away and cancel cancer surgery when an inspection found that the ceiling of its intensive care unit was in danger of collapsing.
Another hospital has had to close an entire ward for the same reason, while another is plagued with sewage regularly leaking into clinical areas because of the age of the facility.
One trust chief executive said: “The whole fabric of the building is shot and we need to rebuild. The build was supposed to be completed in 2024 but [we are] now looking at 2027.”
Another boss said: “We operate 21st-century healthcare from 19th-century buildings – increasingly unsustainable.”
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Source: The Guardian, 8 July 2022