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Patients’ lives ‘at risk because NHS hospitals have been allowed to crumble’

Patients’ lives are being put at risk because NHS hospitals have been allowed to crumble into a state of disrepair, health chiefs have warned.

A lack of capital investment means hospitals rely on outdated equipment – in some cases forcing patients to travel 75 miles away for urgent CT scans.

A new survey by NHS Providers, which represents all hospitals, found that eight in 10 chief executives say maintenance problems and a lack of investment poses a major risk to patient safety.

The report said the health service needs £6billion to carry out urgent maintenance repairs to aging hospital buildings that are falling apart – with pipes bursting, boilers breaking and ceilings falling down.

Hospitals in Kettering, Lancashire, Leicester and Surrey are among those needing hundreds of millions of pounds for building and equipment upgrades.

Kettering General Hospital needs at least £50million of extra funding to build a new ‘urgent care hub’, NHS Providers said – its emergency department is now burdened with three times as many patients as the buildings were designed to handle

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS trust recently suffered CT scanner breakdowns which meant patients had to be transferred a 75-minute drive away to a different hospital

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS trust recently suffered CT scanner breakdowns which meant patients had to be transferred a 75-minute drive away to a different hospital

The NHS also needs millions of pounds to invest in modern equipment, warning that Britain currently has fewer CT scanners per-head than countries like Slovenia, Russia and Turkey.

At University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation Trust recent CT scanner breakdowns meant patients with potentially life threatening injuries had to be transferred a 75-minute drive away to a different hospital, and over 400 outpatient scans were cancelled.

Meanwhile, several hospitals are not equipped to deal with rising number of patients caused by a growing and aging population.

Some 43 per cent of NHS buildings are more than 30 years old and 18 per cent pre-date the founding of the NHS in 1948.

The emergency department at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is now seeing three times as many patients per day as it was built to treat.

NHS Providers said the care of children, adults and elderly people is currently being compromised by the cramped and crowded facilities. The trust needs up to £50m to build an up-to-date urgent care hub.

Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said: ‘The NHS buildings and equipment budget has been relentlessly squeezed year after year. 

The University Hospitals of Leicester needs £456m, NHS Providers warned, so it can consolidate its services in two hospitals instead of three and free up the third for community care

The University Hospitals of Leicester needs £456m, NHS Providers warned, so it can consolidate its services in two hospitals instead of three and free up the third for community care

The Abraham Cowley mental health unit in Chertsey, Surrey, needs £50million to redevelop its buildings because its wards 'are not suitable for modern mental health care', inspectors warned, and patient safety is at risk because of 'blind spots caused by the physical layout of the building'

The Abraham Cowley mental health unit in Chertsey, Surrey, needs £50million to redevelop its buildings because its wards ‘are not suitable for modern mental health care’, inspectors warned, and patient safety is at risk because of ‘blind spots caused by the physical layout of the building’

UK’S HEALTHCARE SPENDING IS THE SECOND LOWEST OF THE G7 NATIONS 

The UK spends the second lowest amount on healthcare out of all the G7 nations – forking out £2,989 per person in 2017.

Figures released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) ranked 36 countries by how much their healthcare costs each year. 

Healthcare spending in the UK – almost 80 per cent of which is Government money given to the NHS – is £700 less per year than the biggest members of the EU.

And among the G7 nations – the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – it only spends more than Italy.

This is how much the G7 countries spend:

  • United States – £7,736 per person per year
  • Germany – £4,432 
  • France – £3,737 
  • Canada – £3,647 
  • Japan – £3,509 
  • United Kingdom – £2,989 
  • Italy – £2,559

‘Over the last five years we’ve had to transfer nearly £5billion of that money to prop up day to day spending. 

‘As a result, the NHS now has a maintenance backlog of £6billion, £3billion of it safety critical. 

‘The NHS estate is crumbling and the new NHS Long Term Plan can’t be delivered because we don’t have the modern equipment the NHS needs.

‘It’s scandalous that, as a nation, we’re now spending less than half the amount on these items than comparable countries. 

‘The impact on patients is tangible and real.’ 

A hospital trust in Leicester reportedly needs £456million so it can consolidate its services into two hospitals and use the third to run community care.

And the Abraham Cowley mental health unit in Chertsey, Surrey, has been dubbed  ‘unsuitable for modern mental health care’ by government inspectors and needs £50m of upgrades.

Mr Hopson added: ‘We need to rebuild our NHS, and give our doctors and nurses the tools to create the 21st century health service that patients expect and that we can all be proud of.’ 

NHS leaders called for funding to be brought into line with other comparable countries, and said capital spending should be doubled in the upcoming spending review.

Figures released yesterday by the Office of National Statistics found that the UK spends the second lowest amount on health care out of all the G7 countries.

In 2017, the UK spent £2,989 per person on healthcare, compared to £3,737 in France, £4,432 in Germany and £7,736 in the US.

Figures show the UK’s healthcare spending fell as a percentage of GDP from 9.8 per cent in 2013 to 9.6 per cent in 2017.

WHICH HOSPITALS NEED EXTRA FUNDING? 

NHS Providers gave examples of hospitals which, between just four of them, are in need of more than £500million for urgent equipment upgrades or building work.

Recent CT scanner breakdowns at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation Trust meant patients with potentially life threatening injuries had to be transferred a 75-minute drive away to a different hospital, and over 400 outpatient scans were cancelled. 

Kettering General Hospital needs at least £50million of extra funding to build a new ‘urgent care hub’, NHS Providers said. Its emergency department is now burdened with three times as many patients as the buildings were designed to handle.

The University Hospitals of Leicester trust needs £456m so it can consolidate its services in two hospitals instead of three and free up the third for community care. 

And the Abraham Cowley mental health unit in Chertsey, Surrey, has been dubbed ‘unsuitable for modern mental health care’ by government inspectors and needs £50m of upgrades. The Care Quality Commission warned patient safety is at risk because of ‘blind spots caused by the physical layout of the building’. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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