Repairing Leeds hospitals will cost £23m

Have your say

TACKLING building work which poses a “significant risk” at Leeds hospitals would cost £23m – the highest of any NHS trust in Yorkshire.

The new figures, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that eradicating the backlog categorised as posing a “significant risk” would cost £23m.

Hospital bosses said this would include replacing equipment which is past its expected lifespan but still working well, as well as non-critical maintenance to older buildings.

It would cost £125,068 to tackle the backlog of high risk work – less than in several other NHS trusts in the region.

The costs have been revealed two years after it was reported that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had the largest overall building work backlog in the NHS, then standing at around £134m.

The sprawling Leeds hospitals trust estate costs £92.5m a year to run.

A spokesman for the trust said: “The trust has one of the largest and most varied estates in the NHS and this poses a significant challenge as we have many older buildings which are expensive to run and maintain and are increasingly unsuitable for patient care.

“Inevitably the result is we always have an ongoing amount of backlog maintenance, much of it linked to the age of the estate.

“We target the highest priority maintenance first every year.

“The category described as significant backlog figure includes, for example, older equipment across our hospitals which is still working well but is past its expected lifespan for replacement, as well as non-critical maintenance to some of our older buildings in particular.”

Some of the oldest parts of the trust’s estate, including at Leeds General Infirmary and Seacroft Hospital, are to be sold off as health services have been moved out.

In 2012 hospital bosses said the sales, including of the LGI’s Brotherton Wing and the Grade I listed building in Great George Street which dates from the 1860s, could eventually raise £7.5m.

The proposals were revealed in a £155m five-year plan for major reorganisations at the city’s hospitals, which also features plans to create the Leeds Children’s and Maternity Hospital.

That would involve moving all maternity and neonatal services to LGI from St James’s Hospital, a continuation of the centralisation of children’s care at the city centre which took place several years ago.

The £7m scheme would mean expanded services, a new midwife-led unit, the ability to care for even more premature babies and 24-hour consultant cover, which would make it the leading centre of its kind in Yorkshire.

The overall aim of hospital heads is to cut the size of the trust’s estate by 25 per cent over the next 10 years.

Only 40 per cent of the hospital trust’s available space is used for patient care.

The spokesman added that the £23m backlog maintenance figure included work on buildings that they are now withdrawing from.

This includes work at the oldest parts of the main Leeds General Infirmary site, like the historic Gilbert Scott building on Great George Street – and the old nurses’ home at LGI, where office accommodation is being moved elsewhere.

“These buildings and others in the Trust - such as the old fever wards at Seacroft Hospital - are effectively surplus to requirements,” he added.

“Fortunately we do also have much newer building stock on all our sites and want to target investment in those buildings which most of our patients and staff use.

“The trust also invests money in important support measures that aren’t easily visible but are crucial to patient care - for example, spending £30m on a massive project to renew the electrical infrastructure at St James’s.”