What does the result of the General Election mean for NHS Estates?
Now that the dust has settled on a General Election that saw over 47 million people brace the cold to elect a majority Conservative government, the question is what can the NHS expect from a reinstated Tory government, and what will it mean for the Estates?
What situation does the NHS Estate currently find itself in?
No matter what the result of the election, the NHS is in flux and in desperate need of a boost to its Estate and properties.
There have been numerous reports throughout 2019 of hospitals in states of disrepair to the extent where departments have been forced to close over fears for patient and staff safety.
76 hospital Trusts reported incidents due to building failures in the last year. In one London hospital, water began pouring out of the ceiling and patients had to be moved, whereas at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust more than 170 beds and four wards were closed due to the facilities being listed as a major fire risk.
So what have the Conservatives promised this time around?
40 new hospitals
Back in October, Boris Johnson pledged an investment of around £2.7 billion over five years for the construction of six new hospitals, with a further 34 new hospitals to be expected in the next ten years. 20 additional NHS hospitals were also assured that they would receive much needed upgrades to their properties.
Whilst six of these 40 new hospitals are looking more likely to be new facilities added on to existing hospital sites, a refresh will most certainly be welcomed. Britain’s hospitals are in a state of decline with reports that Bolton’s NHS Foundation Trust had a ceiling collapsing on a side ward, and Liverpool Royal Hospitals having flooded ten times throughout 2018.
One of the key pledges made by the Tories in their election campaign was to pass legislation that will ensure an extra £33.9 billion a year goes into the NHS, by law.
According to a survey by NHS Providers, eight in ten Chief Executives claim that maintenance issues and a lack of investment poses a major risk to patient safety. Currently, the NHS sees around £130bn investment a year. With a growing maintenance backlog of over £6bn, this further injection of cash is an absolute must if the NHS is to fix its crumbling Estates and operate efficiently.
50,000 more nurses
A further promise of an additional 50,000 nurses by 2024/25 was also detailed, which is welcoming news. However, this increase could prove difficult if the facilities are not able to support the influx of new staff. With many nurses working 12 hour shifts, better facilities will be needed to cope with the increased volume of workers on
With more nurses comes a need for more homes to house them in. This means further properties will need to be built that are affordable and close by, and current accommodation may need investing in.
Now is the time for NHS Estates to act. Following the confirmation that the Conservatives will remain in power with a majority government, there is likely to be a rise in business cases submitted for building works on NHS properties up and down the country, as Trusts hope to capitalise on the promises of investment within the Conservative manifesto.
If your Trust is in desperate need for some upgrades, or you feel that you have a case for a new ward or building, you should act now and get your business case in before the influx.
How can we help?
Auburn Ainsley are able to provide flexibility in coordinating the client’s own “usual” professional advisers to work collectively on any business case. We can act as a single point of contact, appointing and managing our own team of specialists that are able to suit your needs.
We have extensive experience in healthcare, from our involvement in well-received projects such as the award-winning Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Louth General Hospital.