New funding welcome but long-term NHS capital settlement and action on workforce needed to secure the health service's future Health Foundation comment on Prime Minister’s announcement of additional funding for NHS capital infrastructure projects
29 September 2019
Commenting on the government's announcement today of additional funding for NHS capital projects, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said:
'The government’s announcement today amounts to almost £3bn of additional capital funding over the next 5 years focused on upgrading six NHS hospitals. While this money is very much needed following years of underinvestment in the NHS's crumbling infrastructure, it falls well short of the scale of the challenge. With a backlog of maintenance and repairs that amounts to more than £6bn – much of which threatens patient's safety – and dozens of NHS trust upgrade projects that have been delayed or cancelled, the figure needed is closer to £3bn each year for the next 5 years.
'Such piecemeal funding makes it difficult for trusts to adequately plan their spending. What is ultimately needed is a substantial, long-term capital settlement which is allocated based on a clear assessment of the health care service's needs.
'The need for more investment in hospitals is very visible but the NHS is more than just hospital buildings. This is a very narrow view of the investment needed to secure the health service for the future. There is also an urgent need for investment in GP premises across the country and the NHS is facing severe staff shortages with over 100,000 vacancies. Without the staff to operate them, buildings and scanners alone will not address the severe capacity issues that the health service currently faces.’
Notes to editors
Health Foundation spokespeople are available today and tomorrow on request.