NHS needs comprehensive, long-term funding settlement for capital Health Foundation responds to Prime Minister’s expected announcement of £1.8bn for NHS capital infrastructure projects

3 August 2019

In response to the expected announcement, Ben Gershlick, Senior Economist at the Health Foundation, said: 
'The government's expected announcement of a £1.8bn short-term funding boost for upgrades to 20 hospitals and NHS capital infrastructure projects is welcome. But while the Prime Minister might be looking forward to cutting the ribbon at a new hospital ward, years of underinvestment in the NHS’s infrastructure means this extra money risks being little more than a drop in the ocean. Many hospitals, GP surgeries, and community and mental health facilities across England are in major disrepair with the maintenance backlog in trusts alone now totalling over £6bn. Just bringing England up to the OECD average for capital spending on health care would require an extra £4bn (in 2019/20 prices) a year by 2023/24.
'While hospital upgrades are likely to be popular and are certainly needed, there is also a great deal of urgent spending needed on other areas of capital, including updating ageing IT infrastructure and investing in CT and MRI scanners. Without vital improvements such as these, the productivity of the health service and quality of patient care will suffer. It also remains to be seen how much of this pledge will amount to new money, or whether the intention is to give the go ahead for previously cancelled plans within the existing capital budget.
'What the NHS needs is a comprehensive, long-term funding settlement for capital that is driven by the needs of patients and staff. Alongside this, there is the unfinished business of the necessary funding to address the growing NHS workforce and social care crises, and to reverse cuts to the public health grant. All of these will be vital to achieving the vision set out for the NHS in England. 
'Crucially, investment in the NHS must not come at the expense of other areas of public funding which benefit people's health and have seen sustained cuts in the past decade, such as Sure Start and other local government services.'

Media contacts

Simon Perry
07411 22 4926
Sam Fletcher
07791 044564

Watch: Capital spending on health care in England explained

Further reading


The excluded middle: Is the 'new money' new or not?

5 August 2019

The announcement of a £1.8bn cash injection for NHS capital infrastructure projects has generated...


Investing in The NHS long term plan

June 2019

A briefing analysing the challenges for health and social care following the publication of the NHS...


Failing to capitalise

March 2019

A report outlining how short-term thinking has resulted in years of inadequate capital spending for...

You might also like...

Press release

Bolder action needed on levelling up agenda

Health Foundation response to the Chancellor's measures to support the UK's recovery from the...

Press release

Rebuilding the nation’s health requires far more than just infrastructure investment

Health Foundation's response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of plans to ‘build back better’ in...

Press release

Legacy of political neglect had left social care fatally exposed before the outbreak began

Health Foundation response to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Budget...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Over 700,000 patients served by GPs at high risk of COVID-19 could be left without access to face to face GP appoin… https://t.co/wZJJPCuRCn

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more