£850 Million Extra Funding for NHS Hospitals in England

Peter Russell

August 05, 2019

Twenty hospitals in England have been selected to receive a share of £850 million extra funding to upgrade outdated facilities and pay for new equipment.

The announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson forms part of NHS spending pledges worth £1.8 billion for the NHS.

Downing Street said the announcement delivered on the PM's promise to upgrade hospitals and ensure money spent on the health service reached the frontline as soon as possible.

Ahead of his announcement today at a Lincolnshire hospital, Mr Johnson said the money would mean "more beds, new wards, and extra life-saving equipment to ensure patients continue to receive world-class care".

However, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) called the investment "a drop in the ocean".

Health think-tank the Nuffield Trust described the cash boost as "a welcome down payment on the staggering £6 billion needed to clear the backlog of NHS maintenance".

The King's Fund called for urgent action to tackle what it called the "workforce crisis" faced by the NHS.

Downing Street said that the £1.8 billion funding was in addition to the extra £33.9 billion, in cash terms, that the NHS was set to receive every year by 2023-24 through the NHS Long Tterm Plan. It said that more than £1 billion of the money would be spent this year, representing an annual increase in the NHS's capital budget of 30%.

The UK devolved administrations would receive additional funding of around:

  • £180 million for Scotland

  • £110 million for Wales

  • £60 million for Northern Ireland

Reacting to today's funding announcement, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "This is a significant start to the much needed capital investment so that our nurses, doctors, and other NHS staff will be able to care for their patients in modern facilities with state of the art equipment.

"The concrete steps being set out this week will mean investment flows directly to frontline services, providing new clinics and wards."

'A Welcome First Step'

Richard Murray, chief executive of the King's Fund, said: "A significant amount of work is needed to bring NHS buildings and equipment up to scratch after years of capital budgets being raided to cover day-to-day running costs. 

"The new funding announced today is a welcome first step, but a longer-term investment programme is needed to tackle the £6 billion NHS maintenance backlog, upgrade GP surgeries that are no longer fit-for-purpose, and modernise the NHS so it can take advantage of new technology.

"As well as shoring up buildings, urgent action is needed to shore up the NHS workforce. Severe staff shortages are the biggest challenge facing the health service, with nearly 100,000 vacancies in NHS trusts. In addition to pensions reform, solving the workforce crisis will require a raft of measures, including financial incentives to attract more nurses, and ramped up international recruitment to plug rota gaps today."

Prof Andrew Goddard, president of the RCP, said: "We very much welcome the announcement of extra funding for new hospitals, particularly as much of the capital investment is intended to help people in under-resourced areas who are struggling more than most to get the treatment they need.

"But while 20 more hospitals may seem a significant investment, it is unfortunately a drop in the ocean."

The Health Foundation said that because of historical underinvestment in the NHS's "creaking infrastructure", the latest tranche of money would only "scratch the surface" of the problem. Ben Gershlick, the Foundation's senior economist, commented that "allocating money late in the year and changing budgets multiple times is not an effective way to plan investment".

The British Medical Association said it welcomed the extra investment for hospital upgrades and capital funding but called for extra funding to address the impoverished state of general practice buildings.

Hospitals to Be Upgraded

The 20 hospitals set to be upgraded were:

  • Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (FT) – £99.5 million for a new block in Luton to provide critical and intensive care, as well as a delivery suite and operating theatres

  • Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS FT – £69.7 million to provide diagnostic and assessment centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, and Kings Lynn to aid rapid diagnosis and assessment of cancer and non-cancerous disease

  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS FT – £40 million to build four new hospital wards in Norwich, providing 80 beds

  • NHS South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – £25.2 million to develop and improve primary care services in South Norfolk

  • University Hospitals Birmingham – £97.1 million to provide a new purpose built hospital facility in Birmingham, replacing outdated outpatient, treatment, and diagnostic accommodation

  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust – £21.3 million to improve patient flow in Boston by developing urgent and emergency care zones in A&E

  • Wye Valley NHS Trust – £23.6 million to provide new hospital wards in Hereford, providing 72 beds

  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust – £17.6 million to create three new modern wards to improve capacity and patient flow in Stoke, delivering approximately 84 beds for winter 2019-20

  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge CCGs and North East London NHS FT – £17 million to develop a new health and wellbeing hub in North East London

  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust – £12.7 million to extend and refurbish critical care units at the Croydon University Hospital, Croydon

  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System – £57.5 million for primary care investment across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT – £41.7 million to improve paediatric cardiac services in the North East

  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – £12 million to provide a single laboratory information management system across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, covering all pathology disciplines

  • Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT – £72.3 million to build a new adult mental health inpatient unit in Manchester

  • Mersey Care NHS FT – £33 million to provide a new 40 bed low secure unit for people with learning disabilities

  • Stockport NHS FT – £30.6 million to provide a new emergency care campus development at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, incorporating an urgent treatment centre, GP assessment unit, and planned investigation unit

  • NHS Wirral CCG – £18 million to improve patient flow in Wirral by improving access via the urgent treatment centre

  • Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT – £16.3 million to provide emergency and urgent care facilities at Tameside General Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne

  • Isle of Wight NHS Trust – £48 million to redesign acute services

  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust – £99.9 million to build a new women's and children's hospital in the centre of the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro

Pensions Announcement

Later this week, Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is expected to set out changes to the NHS pensions scheme that has contributed to a problem in which senior doctors have faced large tax bills as a result of working extra shifts. The Government has been warned that pensions regulations dating back to 2016 were forcing consultants out of the health service.

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