40 new hospitals: Fact vs Fiction

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FICTION: via Conservative website:

“As part of the new Health Infrastructure Plan, 40 new hospitals will be built across England over the next decade, along with dozens of hospital upgrades and a fund to improve critical infrastructure.

“As part of the biggest programme of hospital building in a generation, we will spend £13 billion to build these hospitals to the highest quality.

“The package also includes £900m to deliver major improvements in health tech, and £200 million to replace MRI, CT scanners and breast cancer screening equipment, so that no scanner in the NHS is more than 10 years old.

“Six hospital builds are getting the full go-ahead now, and a further thirty four new build projects are receiving seed funding to kick start their schemes.”

FACT: More lies from Boris Johnson

The announcement that the government was pressing ahead with building 40 new hospitals was quickly debunked. In fact 34 projects involving 21 trusts have been put on the back burner for at least 6 years, but fobbed off with less then £5m each in “seed funding”.

Of the six ‘new hospitals’ that have been given the immediate go-ahead to build over the next 5 years, several turn out to be repairs, refurbishments or extensions – and none is ready to start work at once.

In South West London the debate is about where to build a new £400 million “major acute” hospital and what happens to St Helier hospital.

In North East London the discussion is where on the extensive Whipps Cross site the new building should be located.

In Leeds, too, the Trust board has a number of stages to complete before it can start building the new hospitals.

In Watford, there is also an unresolved argument over the location of an acute hospital to serve the catchment area of almost 500,000 people.

In Harlow, the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust management is “thrilled” but warns there will be some delay before anything actually happens.

And in Leicester, where University Hospitals of Leicester Chief Executive John Adler was “ecstatic” at the news that £450m is now available, the Trust needs to publish a pre-consultation business case, reputed to be a staggering 1800 pages long, brace itself for a full public consultation, and construct a viable Business Case – which could also be open to challenge.

Don’t hold your breath waiting. It’s clear some of these schemes will need more money and much more time before anything happens.

This article was originally published in Health Campaigns Together Election Special newspaper. 

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