Total cost of running the NHS estate up by 12% to £12.4bn a year

  • 4th April 2024

Backlog maintenance continues to plague NHS organisations, with the total estimated cost to eradicate works currently standing at £11.6bn – an increase of 13.5% on the previous 12 months

The total cost of running the NHS estate was £12.4bn during the 2022/23 financial year, according to the results of the latest Estates Return Information Collection (ERIC) survey.

The annual data set comprises information relating to the costs of providing and maintaining the NHS estate, including buildings, maintaining and equipping hospitals, the provision of services such as laundry and food, and the costs and consumption of utilities.

And is has revealed that the cost of running the estate – at £12.4bn – was 12% up on the previous year.

Total energy usage from all energy sources was 11.2 billion kWh – down by 1.65% on 2021/22 figures.

Backlog maintenance continues to plague NHS organisations, according to the data, with the total estimated cost to eradicate works currently standing at £11.6bn – an increase of 13.5% on the previous 12 months.

Of these works, it is estimated that £2.3bn is needed to address high-risk issues, £3.8bn for significant-risk works, £3.9bn for moderate risk, and £1.3bn for low-risk works.

  • Other data revealed includes:
    • There are now 223 combined heat and power (CHP) units – an increase of 4% on 2021/22
    • The total cost for cleaning services was £1.3bn – a 10% increase
    • The total cost of providing inpatient food was £800m – up 13.7%
    • The cost of waste services was £164.7m – up 8%

The data covered 9,713 in England with a gross internal floorspace of 27.2 million sq m.

The figures also revealed that currently 167.6 million sq m of internal floorspace is unoccupied.

Commenting on the report, Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund health think tank, said: “The cost and severity of maintenance issues with NHS buildings and equipment is still growing, with a maintenance backlog that has now risen to £11.6 bn.

“Promises to build new hospitals have not been realised, which has left parts of the NHS estate in such a poor condition they pose serious risks to staff and patients.

“The repeated raiding of long-term investment budgets to cover day-to-day spending is illustrative of the short-term thinking that has plagued NHS finances in recent years.

“The consequences of the Government’s earlier decisions to put off dealing with long-term problems are now being realised.

“Recent increases in the number of hospital staff have not yet translated into increased hospital activity, and outdated tech and dilapidated buildings are likely to be one factor limiting progress.

“The deteriorating state of NHS buildings and equipment is a shaky foundation that could undermine the Government’s productivity drive.”

And he added: “To get the sector back on track in the coming years and break the cycle of ‘worst-ever’ winters, bolder action and longer-term thinking by government will be necessary.

“This includes action to make working in the NHS and social care a more attractive career, bolstering out-of-hospital care such as primary, community, and social care services, and helping people live healthier lives.”

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