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Found 104 results
  1. News Article
    Thirteen more NHS hospitals have identified a potentially unsafe form of concrete in their buildings, causing closures and disruption to wards. The government has updated its list of hospitals that have confirmed reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete on their sites, with the total now at 54. This includes at least two trusts – Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Hampshire Hospitals – which in September said their sites did not contain the material, after the sudden closure of schools with the concrete sparked a wave of headlines over it. The material was used widely between the 1960s and 1980s and can be prone to collapse. The impact and risk of the concrete identified varies greatly between sites. HSJ has asked trusts who run the newly identified sites where it has been found, as well as the risks and impact from the discovery. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 29 February 2024
  2. News Article
    Disrepair in NHS buildings led to thousands of potentially-harmful incidents last year including critically ill patients being moved when rainfall came through the ceiling. Sewage leaks, floods and failing equipment also featured in incident records obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act. Health chiefs called on the government to nearly double its capital spending. The government said "significant sums" had been invested to modernise the NHS. Heath Secretary Victoria Atkins said the government accepted that some hospital buildings "are not as we would wish them to be" but added that it was for NHS chief executives to decide how to spend the money. According to NHS data, the care of more than 2,600 acute hospital patients was disrupted last year by estates and infrastructure failure. The NHS Confederation, which represents trusts, has published a report setting out what health care leaders want the next government to prioritise. It has called on the government to increase capital spending on the health service from £7.7bn to £14.1bn. Matthew Taylor, its chief executive, said: "Put simply, a lack of capital funding can leave patients at risk." Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 February 2024
  3. News Article
    Hospitals in England are being hit with disruptions to patients’ care more than 100 times every week because of fires, leaks and problems created by outdated buildings, NHS figures reveal. There have been 27,545 “clinical service incidents” over the past five years – an average of 106 a week – data compiled by the House of Commons library shows. They are incidents the NHS says were “caused by estates and infrastructure failure related to critical infrastructure risk” and are linked to the service’s massive backlog of maintenance, the bill for which has soared to £11.6bn. All the incidents led to “clinical services being delayed, cancelled or otherwise interfered with” for at least five patients for a minimum of 30 minutes. That means the 27,545 incidents between 2018-19 and 2022-23 disrupted the care of at least 137,725 patients, according to an analysis of NHS data by the Commons library commissioned by Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats. “These findings are shocking but sadly not surprising, given the dilapidated, and in some cases dangerous, state of so many NHS facilities,” said Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health service trusts. The “unacceptable impact on patients” should spur ministers into increasing the NHS’s capital budget so trusts can urgently overhaul their estates, she said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 January 2024
  4. Content Article
    In its 75th anniversary year, the strains on the NHS are all too clear, with demand from an ageing population increasing, while the number of patients treated is still lower than before the pandemic. The Chancellor recently announced the “most ambitious productivity review ever undertaken by government”, yet it is unclear how to bring about the necessary productivity improvements in the NHS to meet the challenges of the future.  For the 2023 REAL challenge lecture, Professor Dame Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, explored some of the key drivers of UK healthcare productivity and discuss what we might hope the NHS will look like when it reaches its centenary. You can watch the video of the lecture and download the slides below.
  5. Content Article
    Research funded by the NIHR has found that air cleaning technologies designed to make social interactions safer in indoor spaces are not effective. The research was funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response. The researchers looked at technologies including: air filtration germicidal lights ionisers. They studied evidence about whether the technologies reduce the risk of catching airborne respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. The researchers found the technologies do not stop the spread of infections in buildings.
  6. Content Article
    What is the impact of the poor condition of equipment and buildings? In September, the Chief Financial Officer of NHS England, Julian Kelly, told the Public Accounts Committee that every day ‘hospitals are having to shut units and decant patients into other spaces’. St Peter’s Hospital in Essex, a former Victorian workhouse, has had to relocate some inpatient services to other hospitals this winter amid issues with a leaking roof, weak flooring and broken lifts. And Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn has more steel props to stop RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) collapsing in its buildings than it does hospital beds. Underinvestment impacts the delivery of care, causing disruption for patients, and adding to the burden on staff who have to negotiate working in dilapidated buildings on top of their workload.  
  7. News Article
    The NHS in England has a record repair bill of almost £12bn, new figures show, with ministers needing to find more than £2bn for urgent maintenance to prevent catastrophic failure. The annual report on the condition of the health service’s estate said on Thursday that the cost of improving rundown buildings and decrepit equipment was two and a half times larger than in 2011-2012, when it stood at £4.7bn. The cost of the “high-risk” backlog – situations where the need to repair or replace facilities and equipment must be urgently addressed to prevent serious failure, significant injury or major disruption to clinical services – rose by almost a third to a record £2.4bn. This was £0.3bn in 2011-2012. However, investment to reduce the backlog fell in the last year from £1.41bn to £1.38bn, a fraction of what is needed to restore the NHS estate back to acceptable levels of risk. The stark figures cover a time prior to the health service becoming embroiled in the crumbling concrete crisis which initially hit school buildings. Sir Julian Hartley, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said that “too many NHS buildings are quite simply falling to bits”, and that we need “a step change in the government’s approach to planning and funding essential capital investment in the NHS”. He said: “The eye-watering cost of trying to patch up creaking infrastructure and out-of-date facilities is mounting at an alarming rate. “Mental health, hospital, community and ambulance services are crying out for much-needed funding for critical projects to overhaul ageing estates and to give patients and staff the safe, reliable conditions they need." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 14 December 2023
  8. News Article
    According to analysis from the NHS Confederation, capital budgets within the NHS must double to ensure that the delivery of faster and more productive patient care can be supported. Published yesterday, the Investing to Save: The Capital Requirement for a More Sustainable NHS in England report has outlined that a further £6.4 billion of capital funding must be committed through all three years of the next Spending Review so that the NHS’ maintenance backlog can be addressed. This will also help with the refurbishment of dilapidated buildings, the upgrading of equipment, and the increasing of staff productivity. 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. “Lack of capital across different care settings, covering digital and physical infrastructure and mental and physical health, is clearly not just leading to missed opportunities to improve productivity, but actively undermining it and causing patient safety issues. Health leaders across England have endless ideas about how capital funding could drive large productivity increases. “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. “This will require a significant increase to the NHS capital budget to make up for years of under-resourcing and repeated raids on capital that has left much of the estate broken. Based on the assessment of health leaders, this will need to be an increase of £6.4 billion to take the capital budget to £14.1 billion for each year of the next spending review in order to fully address the repairs backlog and realise some of the innovative transformation projects which have previously fallen by the wayside. The next government must grasp the nettle.” Read full story Source: National Health Executive, 29 November 2023
  9. News Article
    Scotland's largest health board has been named as a suspect in a corporate homicide investigation following the deaths of four patients at a Glasgow hospital campus. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) informed families of the development via a closed Facebook group set up during a water contamination crisis. The board confirmed it had received an update from the Crown Office. But it added there was no indication prosecutors had "formed a final view". Police Scotland launched a criminal investigation in 2021 into a number of deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus, including that of 10-year-old Milly Main. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) instructed officers to investigate the deaths of Milly, two other children and 73-year-old Gail Armstrong. Milly's mother previously told a separate public inquiry into the building of several Scottish hospitals that her child's death was "murder". A review earlier found an infection which contributed to Milly's death was probably caused by the QEUH environment. Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 November 2023
  10. News Article
    A trust failed to identify risks associated with a helipad in one of its car parks, contributing to the death of an elderly woman who was blown over as a heavy search and rescue helicopter came into land. The Air Accident Investigations Branch found multiple factors contributed to 87-year-old Jean Langan’s death at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth in March 2022. Ms Langan was on her way to an appointment when she was blown over and another person seriously injured. Crispin Orr, chief inspector of air accidents, said: “Our in-depth investigation revealed systemic safety issues around the design and operation of hospital helicopter landing sites which need to be addressed at a national level.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 November 2023
  11. News Article
    Eighteen more hospitals in England contain potentially crumbling concrete, bring the total affected to 42, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed. The reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) has also been found in 214 schools and colleges in England as well as thousands of other buildings. NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said the concrete "puts patients and staff at risk". Full structural surveys are taking place at all newly confirmed sites. The government said it was committed to eradicating Raac from NHS buildings completely by 2035. Seven of the worst-affected hospitals will be replaced by 2030 as part of the programme to build 40 new hospitals in England, it added. Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 October 2023
  12. News Article
    Eighteen more hospitals in England contain potentially crumbling concrete, bring the total affected to 42, the Department of Health has confirmed. The reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) has also been found in 214 schools and colleges in England as well as thousands of other buildings. NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said the concrete "puts patients and staff at risk". Full structural surveys are taking place at all newly confirmed sites. The government said it was committed to eradicating Raac from NHS buildings completely by 2035. Seven of the worst-affected hospitals will be replaced by 2030 as part of the programme to build 40 new hospitals in England, it added. Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, said there had been fears that more of the material would be found following surveys of NHS buildings. "Trusts are doing everything they can, at huge cost, to keep patients safe where this concrete is found," he said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 October 2023
  13. Content Article
    PLACE assessments will provide motivation for improvement by providing a clear message, directly from patients, about how the environment or services might be enhanced. The 2023 programme is planned for launch in early September 2023.
  14. News Article
    The British Medical Association has written to trust chief executives warning of ‘concerns regarding the safety of our members and the patients they serve’ due to flawed concrete beams. The BMA has written to trust chiefs, copying in their medical committee leads, in the wake of a wave of publicity around reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in recent weeks. The letter said: “The HSJ has reported that many NHS hospital buildings have been constructed with RAAC, which is in some cases reaching the end of safe use and causing danger to staff and patients. “Unfortunately, your trust may be one of the affected hospitals. We have concerns regarding the safety of our members and the patients they serve, and would appreciate answers to the following.” It also requested the trusts provide answers, under the Freedom of Information Act, to questions including whether they had identified RAAC, what assessments they had made, what mitigations were planned or in place, and emergency plans such as evacuation. It is thought the letter was sent to all or most provider trusts. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 12 September 2023
  15. News Article
    NHS England’s finance boss has said patient treatment areas are being closed “all the time” due to crumbling estates, fire risks and flooding. Julian Kelly told MPsthe health service had “examples all the time where hospitals are having to shut units, decant patients into other spaces, where we are losing theatres… which limits our capacity to treat patients”. It comes amid the national controversy around the government’s investment into public buildings, sparked by the sudden closure of dozens of school buildings with unsafe structures known as ‘reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete’. He said: “We have hospital teams which are managing these sort of issues day in and day out. And so we have examples of managing fire risk, flooding… a lot of this is because we know we’ve seen a big increase in backlog maintenance and we know there was a pause in investment in new hospital infrastructure.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 7 September 2023
  16. News Article
    Rishi Sunak’s pledge to cut the NHS waiting list backlog is being threatened by the crumbling concrete crisis as affected hospitals warn they will be forced to shut wards and theatres. Hospitals were told they had buildings prone to collapse in 2019 but four years later they are still dealing with the issue. In a report last year, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust leaders said that work to replace reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) in its hospitals would hit general surgery, urology, gynaecology and orthopaedic care. Wards have had to close, piling pressure on a crowded A&E as patients can’t be offloaded due to lack of beds, and threatening its ability to hit government targets to reduce waiting lists, it added. The warning comes as Sir Keir Starmer used Prime Minister’s Questions to attack Mr Sunak over the crisis. He argued that “the cowboys are running the country” and asked the PM if he was “ashamed” of the scandal caused by 13 years of “botched jobs”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 September 2023
  17. News Article
    NHS boards have been told to obtain extra assurance around the risks to unsafe concrete beams in their estate, following the sudden closure of school buildings. HSJ understands there was a call between national leaders and trust bosses yesterday, to ensure there are additional assessments of the risks around “reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete” in the NHS estate. As part of this, trusts which have already identified the beams in their buildings have been told to plan for potential “RAAC failure, including the decant of patients and services where RAAC panels are present in clinical areas”, and to note the learnings from an “evacuation plan” that was tested in the East of England. Around 40 hospital buildings across 23 trusts are currently understood to be affected by these lightweight panels, which can be on roofs, floors and walls. Trust estates’ teams will already have undertaken assessments and have plans to mitigate the risks, with the government already providing a £700m fund to mitigate immediate safety risks until 2025. But in light of fresh concerns around RAAC planks in school buildings, national leaders have asked for additional assurances to be obtained. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 5 September 2023
  18. Content Article
    The UK spends significantly less on capital, such as buildings and equipment, than most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. This may contribute to its poor performance on outcomes compared with similar countries.  This Health Foundation report analyses trends in the capital budget, comparing the UK with international averages. Using annual data from all NHS trusts in England. It then focuses on trends in the capital spending of NHS trusts to analyse where money has been spent and where there are areas of need. It then analyses the implications of recent capital spending, with a specific focus on NHS trusts’ maintenance backlog. The report concludes with a discussion of the trends in capital spending and capital levels, and implications and recommendations for future health care funding.
  19. News Article
    Trusts have been told to check the safety of their helipads after an accident in a hospital car park left a pensioner dead. Jean Langan, 87, was blown over by the “downwash” of air from a helicopter at Derriford Hospital last year. She was walking through a car park at the hospital after an appointment when she fell and hit her head as an HM Coastguard helicopter landed on the hospital’s helipad. Another elderly woman broke her pelvis. Now the Health and Safety Executive has written to trust chief executives reminding them of their duty to manage health and safety risks around helipads. These risks include downwash from helicopters, the moving parts of helicopters, and the design and location of helipads. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 August 2023
  20. News Article
    More than 250 NHS buildings in Scotland could contain a potentially dangerous type of concrete that can collapse without warning. NHS Scotland issued a Safety Action Notice in February and completed a "desktop survey" of its estate in June. Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was used to build roofs, walls and floors from the 1960s to the 1990s. NHS Scotland has warned the material is potentially vulnerable to "catastrophic failure without warning". But a Scottish government spokesperson said there was "no evidence to suggest that these buildings are not safe." Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 July 2023
  21. Content Article
    The NHS in England has around 1,500 hospitals, where most emergency and elective care is carried out. The hospital estate contains many old buildings and its condition has been deteriorating. In response, in 2020, the government announced the New Hospital Programme (NHP) and committed to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. This report shows the key findings and progress made. Responding to the National Audit Office (NAO) report on the New Hospitals Programme, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “Members will be concerned by the delays to many parts of the New Hospitals Programme, as this report from the National Audit Office reveals. Especially as some trusts are having to find additional money to tackle ongoing maintenance issues such as new roofs, when they were led to believe they would be moving to a new site or given funds to build something new as part of this programme. This is adding more pressure on finance departments whose budgets are already stretched to the limit. “Our members tell us that the maintenance backlog continues to be a significant challenge, impacting productivity and their ability to deliver the transformation required, hindering their progress in reducing the elective backlog and rendering some areas as unusable."
  22. News Article
    NHS England’s target for all trusts to have a working electronic patient record (EPR) system by March 2025 is now ‘unachievable’’ and a new date has been set a year later, government has admitted. A new report of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority – the government body which scrutinises and supports major projects – states: “Delivery confidence is [rated] red as a number of NHS trusts are reporting they are unlikely to be able to fully implement an electronic patient record by March 2025.” The document, published quietly last week, downgrades the rating from “amber” to “red” – and also reveals £700m was cut from the programme’s budget last year. The “frontline digitisation” programme was launched by government and NHSE in 2021 with the aim of getting all trusts to a minimum level of capability, including 90% to have an EPR of an acceptable standard by the end of 2023, and 100 per cent by March 2025. But the IPA report states that a revised business case is now being prepared to reflect a new “end date” of March 2026. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 24 July 2023
  23. News Article
    The government is on track to break a key election promise from Boris Johnson to build 40 new hospitals in England by the end of the decade, a damning report by the public spending watchdog has found. Delays to projects mean the target is unlikely to be met, with work on buildings in the second cohort of the scheme yet to have started as of May, according to the National Audit Office. The approach to achieving objectives at the lowest possible cost could also result in hospitals that are too small, the watchdog warned, as modelling assumptions may be unrealistic about the extent to which care in future will be provided outside hospitals. The government failed to achieve good value for money, with the scheme having cost £1.1bn by March this year, and progress has been slower than expected, the report concluded. The claim will ignite concerns that the new hospitals would struggle to cope in the event of another pandemic, given England already has one of the highest rates of hospital bed occupancy among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 July 2023
  24. News Article
    The death of a retired police officer who got his head trapped in a hospital bed was an avoidable accident, an inquest has concluded. Max Dingle, 83, of Newtown, Powys, died after he became stuck between the rails and mattress at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on 3 May 2020. The initial post-mortem test gave the cause of death as heart disease. But a second examination, commissioned by Mr Dingle's son, found entrapment and asphyxiation to be the cause. After comparing and discussing their findings, both pathologists then agreed "entrapment did play a significant part in the cause of death", the senior coroner for Shropshire John Ellery said. The inquest was told Mr Dingle's son Phil had asked for the second post-mortem test because "did not accept" the initial findings and had sought the opinion of a pathologist in Australia, where he lives. Max Dingle, who had been admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath, died 15 minutes after he was found to be trapped, the hearing was told. Concluding the inquest, Mr Ellery said: "Based on all the evidence, the conclusions of this inquest are Mr Dingle's death was an avoidable accident." Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 June 2022
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