A NUMBER OF HOSPITALS ARE FALLING DOWN! – PM Johnson’s rebuilding claim ridiculed

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Lewisham Hospital campaigners demanding funding to rebuild hospitals

‘A NUMBER of our hospitals are literally falling down,’ Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust health think tank said yesterday as he ridiculed PM Johnson’s claim that the Tory government will build 40 new hospitals by 2030.

Edwards was speaking after the National Audit Office (NAO) announced that it has launched an investigation into the Tory 2019 election manifesto pledge to ‘build 40 new hospitals by 2030’.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting called for an investigation into delays surrounding the programme and accused the Tories of ‘overpromising and underdelivering’.

NAO comptroller Gareth Davies said in a letter to Streeting: ‘I can confirm that I already have plans to start a value for money review of the New Hospitals Programme’.

Streeting commented: ‘The only place these 40 new hospitals currently exist is in Boris Johnson’s imagination.’

The Tory Party 2019 election manifesto said: ‘We will build and fund 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years’ and Johnson has often repeated the promise to build ‘40 more hospitals’.

Edwards warned yesterday: ‘A number of our hospitals are literally falling down. Some of the ones built with a type of aerated concrete are actually being propped up.

‘James Paget hospital in Great Yarmouth has 1,500 props propping up its roof, Watford has been waiting for a redevelopment for 30 years, Hillingdon certainly needs rebuilding, Whipps Cross made a good workhouse infirmary but has been thinking about rebuilding since the 1990s.

‘The one new hospital that has opened was started a very long time ago and it was delayed due to the collapse of Carillion.

‘There is a massive backlog of billions of pounds of maintenance across the whole of the NHS’s buildings and estate, a black hole with very little investment put into it.

‘People who have visited hospital will be familiar with buckets collecting water, plant breaking down, operations being cancelled because things are not working.

‘It’s a real problem and a number of these places, I’ve just named a few and I could carry on listing places that have been waiting for over a decade and in some cases two decades, awaiting replacement of their aged estate.

‘The main problem the NHS is facing is staffing, actually. Nice environments with proper facilities for staff means we’re more likely to keep staff. We haven’t produced enough staff, we haven’t trained enough nurses and doctors, but it turns out that keeping them is even more of a priority than training them.

‘It’s very good that the NAO is looking at this. There is definitely something that needs to be looked at here,’ Edwards concluded.