More than 2,000 hospital buildings in England pre-date the NHS

  • 24th April 2024

Research released by the Liberal Democrats reveals that over 2,000 hospital buildings in England were built before the NHS was established in 1948.

A total of 2,063 hospital buildings across England were built before the birth of the NHS, with two thirds of some estates over 75 years old.

Overall, 34 out of 211 NHS trusts had at least one in four buildings constructed before 1948.

And just 30 trusts had no buildings that pre-dated 1948, according to the research.

The study found that Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London has the highest proportion of outdated buildings in the county, with two in three (67%) hospital buildings in its estate predating the establishment of the NHS.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust came a close second, with 65.5% of hospital buildings predating the establishment of the NHS.

The study also revealed that patient care has been drastically impacted in many of the hospitals.

At St Helier Hospital in Sutton, lifts have reportedly broken down three times in one day and an Intensive Care Unit was deemed unsafe for patients and instead is used as a storeroom.

And Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford has experienced rain causing sewage to swell up through its bathroom sinks and spilling out onto the wards.

Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP, 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 government’s chronic neglect of the health service.”

Commenting on the findings, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, a membership organisation respresenting NHS trusts, added: “Far too many NHS buildings and equipment are in a very bad way and the situation is just getting worse year after year.

“The safety of patients and staff is at risk.

“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 and we need a big injection of government investment so that mental health, community, hospital, and ambulance services can tackle significant risks to patients and staff.

“To be properly equipped to give people first-class care the NHS needs safe, 21st-century buildings and facilities.”

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