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Over 2,000 hospital buildings in England older than the NHS: Lib Dem study reveals


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The Lib Dems describe the situation as a “national scandal”, call on Rishi Sunak to invest in upgrading NHS hospital buildings 

The Liberal Democrats have raised concerns about the safety of millions of patients who are being treated in old and crumbling hospitals as their new research revealed that more than 2,000 NHS buildings in England predate the establishment of the health service.

Analysis of NHS Digital data by the party showed that 15 per cent of hospital buildings in England (totalling 2,063) were built before 1948 – the year the NHS was founded.

At some NHS trusts, more than two in three buildings were found to be over 75 years old, with sewage leaks and broken lifts posing risks to patients.

As Parliament reconvenes today, the Lib Dems have urged the government to announce a plan to upgrade outdated NHS buildings, describing the situation as a “national scandal.”

The party health and social care spokesperson, Daisy Cooper said: “It is a national scandal that millions around the country are being treated in old and crumbling hospitals that are no longer fit for purpose.

“Patients and staff deserve the dignity of safe, modern and clean hospitals. But instead this government has shamefully chosen to raid capital budgets for fixing crumbling buildings to plug the gap in day-to-day costs, while hospitals are literally falling apart.

“Rishi Sunak needs to get a grip and announce a plan to fix our crumbling hospital buildings. Patients should not have to pay the price for this Conservative government’s chronic neglect of the health service.”

Key findings from the study

 In total, 34 out of 211 NHS trusts had at least one in four buildings that were constructed before 1948. Only 30 trusts had no buildings that pre-dated that year, according to figures published by the Liberal Democrats.

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London has the highest proportion of outdated buildings in the county, with 66.7 per cent predating the establishment of the NHS.

Following closely are Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals (65.5 per cent ), Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (51.1 per cent), and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (49.5 per cent).

The study documented shocking incidents of patient care being impacted by crumbling infrastructure in many of these dilapidated buildings such as lifts breaking down multiple times a day at St Helier Hospital in Sutton and sewage leaking from bathroom sinks onto wards at Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford.

One hospital was found using an intensive care unit as a storeroom as it was deemed unsafe for patients.

A big injection of investment needed

Responding to the analysis from the Lib Dems, NHS Providers, which represents health trusts, has called on the government to allocate funds to improve the safety of NHS buildings.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive, NHS Providers, expressed concern that “the safety of patients and staff is at risk” as many NHS buildings and equipment are “in a very bad way” and the situation is “just getting worse year after year.”

She said: “NHS trusts have an £11bn-plus list of essential repairs waiting to be done and the backlog is mounting at an alarming rate.

“The eye-watering cost of trying to keep creaking buildings and out-of-date facilities going is soaring.”

She underscored the need for “a big injection of government investment” to enable mental health, community, hospital and ambulance services to tackle significant risks to patients and staff.

The NHS needs “safe, 21st century buildings and facilities” in order to be properly equipped to give people first-class care, she added.











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