New data showed that there has been a 15 per cent increase in NHS hospitals affecting patient care due to collapse of NHS buildings, leaking roofs and faulty equipment.
The maintenance backlog has now reached £9.2bn for more than 200 hospital trusts and ambulance services according to data from NHS Digital, with repairs classified as “high risk”, rising by almost 5 per cent a year to £9.2bn. 1.6bn is done.
According to the data, the number of clinical service incidents – where care for at least five patients is delayed or canceled due to power failures, sewage leaks, or equipment failures – rose 15 percent in 2020-21 The total has gone up to 6,812.
There have been 12,896 separate incidents of patient harm or safety risks, reported by NHS staff, where a hospital’s physical infrastructure or equipment was to blame.
The Health and Safety Executive received 1,600 reports where incidents caused injury to patients or employees as part of the reporting of injuries, illnesses, and hazardous events regulations.
Since 2010 the NHS maintenance backlog has been growing as a result of repeated funding from the NHS capital budget to support day-to-day expenses, with hospital buildings suffering as a result.
In August, an intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn had to be evacuated for fear that its roof could collapse.
Norfolk Hospital has warned of a “direct risk to the life and safety of patients” from a “catastrophic failure of the roof” beyond its planned lifetime.
The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has warned that the poor condition of operating theaters at Hinchingbrook Hospital in Cambridgeshire could derail its surgical waiting list, while other hospitals have had to cancel surgeries following a rat infestation or a fire that caused an electrical fault.
Saffron Corddry, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, representing hospital trusts, said: “Today’s figures will once again take a multi-year NHS capital to improve access to treatment, endure the backlog of care and transform services. Underscore the need for funding settlement.
“We have argued for many years that the NHS needs extensive investment in its estates and hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services to tackle the dangerous maintenance backlog – which is now £9.2bn. that NHS buildings and equipment are safe, efficient and reliable.”
In a briefing ahead of the chancellor’s spending review, NHS providers called for an additional minimum of £1.5 billion in capital spending by 2024-25.
Ms Corddry said: “We welcome the government’s recent announcement of an increased revenue funding for the NHS, but it will not deliver the desired improvement without appropriate capital expenditure.
“As we approach the final, critical stages of negotiations on a spending review, it is important that the government heeds the warnings of leaders and the NHS so desperately in need of capital investment”.
The government has increased capital spending on the NHS to £5.8 billion in 2021 and has pledged to rebuild 48 hospitals as part of its health infrastructure plan. The NHS was given an additional £500m in capital expenditure for the second half of this year specifically to support the delivery of routine surgeries this winter.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /