Yorkshire hospitals face £700m bill to deal with backlog of repairs

Doncaster Royal Infirmary faces a bill of millions to deal with a backlog of repairs to old buildings
Doncaster Royal Infirmary faces a bill of millions to deal with a backlog of repairs to old buildings
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Crumbling hospitals across Yorkshire face a mounting £700 million bill to deal with a huge backlog of repairs dating back years.

Official figures show more than £50m is needed for immediate high-risk problems to prevent catastrophic failure, major disruption to hospital services, or tackle safety concerns, with an additional £300m required for serious risks.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts

Hospital chiefs are calling on Ministers to commit to long-term investment in the wake of sweeping cuts to capital spending in the last decade as funding was diverted to prop up NHS finances which have plunged deep into the red.

Latest figures reveal the highest bill in Yorkshire for high and serious risk backlog repairs stands at more than £54m on ageing buildings at Doncaster Royal Infirmary - prompting a recent warning from its leaders the position “is not sustainable” in the long term.

Hull Royal Infirmary requires work put at £39m to deal with similar risks principally in its main tower block built half a century ago.

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Hospitals in Grimsby and Scunthorpe need combined investment worth £19m in the face of a long-running financial crisis which is predicted to leave them still tens of millions of pounds in deficit even in 2024.

The highest single hospital bill for all backlog repairs stands at £72m at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, although some of this will be met in plans for a major reconfiguration of services in the area.

In Leeds and Sheffield, the overall cost of all repair work at main hospitals in each city runs to more than £100m.

Ministers unveiled a new health infrastructure plan three months ago including approval of £600m for two new hospitals on the Leeds General Infirmary site but this failed to set out funding for backlog maintenance.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said piecemeal announcements would not address the scale of the challenge.

Long-term investment was needed to meet growing demand and the future needs of patients amid an NHS backlog maintenance bill of £6.5 billion in England, around half of which was safety critical, and a 25 per cent rise in incidents linked to failing infrastructure last year.

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“The NHS estate and facilities must be fixed and repaired urgently,” he said.

“Crumbling buildings and broken boilers impact patient safety and experience.

“Trusts have also been unable to access sufficient levels of capital funding to make necessary investments in their buildings, equipment and technology.

“We are continuing to call on the new government to commit to a multi-year capital settlement that brings the NHS capital budget in line with comparable economies and meets all needs, not just building hospitals.”

Kirsty Edmondson Jones, director of estates and facilities at Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS trust, said it was carrying out “substantial” work to its women’s and children’s hospital and operating theatres in Doncaster under plans to spend £20m on maintenance in 2019-20 “to ensure the operation of patient services”.

Jug Johal, director of estates and facilities at the neighbouring Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS trust, said the age and condition of some of its buildings “posed a significant challenge”, particularly in the light of its financial position, but capital investment had been secured for diagnostic and urgent and emergency care improvements.

“We are working hard to secure further funding so we can do more to improve facilities for patients across all three of our hospitals,” he added.

Officials at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said backlog maintenance was prioritised according to available finance, with problems affecting its ability to deliver services being escalated.

Hospital chiefs in Leeds said the go-ahead for redevelopment at the city’s infirmary, due to be completed in 2025, would reduce its infrastructure backlog of £109m by nearly half.

“This demonstrates that significant inroads will be made into our capital backlog over the next five years to benefit both patients and staff,” said a spokesman.