A £3 billion hospital building programme was launched by the Health Secretary back in 2019. This new scheme proposed around 40 new hospitals built across England over the next ten years. This new investment also came in addition to the £33.9 billion increase in cash funding for the day-to-day running of the NHS being delivered by the government over the next five years. But what did it mean for the sector? And how did the pandemic impact the programme?
I’m sure when this programme was announced the government didn’t account for a worldwide pandemic. Projects all over a variety of sectors had to slow down or stop all together. However, after over 15 months of ups and downs, things do seem to be picking up across the country. As we start to come out of the pandemic, this will be a big project for the government to get back to as part of their build back better pledges.
Six of the hospitals were already given the go-ahead, and a further twenty one new build projects, including thirty four new hospitals, were due to receive seed funding to kick start their schemes.
Some of the hospitals receiving funding include North Manchester General Hospital, Royal Preston Hospital, Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
The NHS has needed more investment for years and it’s great that we’re finally seeing a focus on investment. For years we’ve seen a short-term approach to NHS buildings and infrastructure, with repairs taking too long and hospitals not being able to treat patients because they’re underfunded and don’t have the capacity to deal with everyone coming in.
These plans were welcomed by a sector that hasn’t seen a lot of investment, though there was some confusion from the Trusts around how the funding would be divided up and where it was going. The government will hope that this more strategic approach helps improve the health infrastructure and facilities for the NHS over the long-term. Ultimately helping to provide more resources for staff, increase capacity for patients and help deliver better facilities and world-leading care for patients.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “The dedication and tireless efforts of our nurses, doctors and all healthcare workers have kept the NHS open throughout this pandemic. But no matter what this virus throws at us, we are determined to build back better and deliver the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. From Morpeth to Milton Keynes, we are building 40 new hospitals across England to level up our NHS so more people have top-class healthcare services in their local area.”
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