Responding to the Public Accounts Committee's report on the progress of the government's New Hospitals Programme, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“This timely report from the Public Accounts Committee reinforces what health leaders already know – there is an urgent need for capital investment in the health service, not least to tackle the current maintenance backlog of £10.2bn which is critically limiting productivity.
“Like parts of the crumbling NHS estate, the New Hospitals Programme risks falling apart if capital budgets continue to be raided for day-to-day spending. As the report points out, the repeated diversion of funds to plug revenue gaps is what has got us into this mess, and the consequence is that our buildings are becoming increasingly unsafe to deliver care in, and hindering efforts to improve productivity.
"Health leaders have ambitious plans for transformation of their buildings and technology, which would improve patient safety and ways of working, but these have been repeatedly undermined by a short-termist approach to funding.
"If the government is serious about building new hospitals and the Treasury's productivity review, it first needs to better look after the hospitals that already exist, and the Autumn Statement is a huge opportunity to commit to the capital investment that is so desperately needed.”
We are the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The members we represent employ 1.5 million staff, care for more than 1 million patients a day and control £150 billion of public expenditure. We promote collaboration and partnership working as the key to improving population health, delivering high-quality care and reducing health inequalities.