Repairs and upgrades will be funded by Theresa May's birthday cash injection
Millions of pounds of the extra NHS funding announced as part of the 70th birthday celebrations will be spent on improving crumbling and outdated hospital buildings.
Last month, Prime Minister, Theresa May, pledged increased investment in the NHS to the tune of £20billion a year by 2023.
But, a report by NHS Providers has revealed that a huge proportion of this cash will be spent on doctors’ pay and improving the estate from which services are delivered.
This will leave very little for frontline service improvements, such as increased operations or better access to life-prolonging treatments.
The report warns that at least £912m a year will be ‘swallowed up’ in building repairs, paying for an expansion in available beds, and replacing outdated IT systems.
It states: “Recovering NHS performance risks swallowing up new funding.
This report highlights the scale of the challenges the NHS faces in recovering the lost ground that has built up over the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history
“Our view is recovering lost ground would take up much, if not most, of the additional NHS spending.”
Saffron Cordery of NHS Providers added: “This report highlights the scale of the challenges the NHS faces in recovering the lost ground that has built up over the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history. “We would be fooling ourselves to think there are any simple shortcuts to recovery.”
Investment in the NHS estate is long overdue.
NHS estates data from 2017 shows the total cost of repairing high-risk estates backlog within the NHS is £775.5m.
Significant-risk work is worth £1.56billion, works that pose a moderate risk are worth £1.51billion, and low-risk work is estimated at £1.11billion.
All this needs to be carried out to ensure buildings in which healthcare services are delivered are safe and fit for purpose.