Tens of millions of needed to revamp Northumberland hospital buildings

Hospital bosses in Northumberland need to spend more than £67m to bring its buildings up to scratch, new figures reveal.

By Federica Bedendo
Monday, 15th February 2021, 11:47 am
Wansbeck General Hospital
Wansbeck General Hospital

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust says it has a £54m investment programme currently underway and patient and staff safety, and the quality of care it provides, are always top priorities.

Figures from NHS Digital show that, at the end of March last year, the Trust needed £67.4m worth of work to eliminate the maintenance backlog required at its sites.

This includes:

Sign up to our daily newsletter

*£27.4m at Berwick Infirmary.

*£23.6m at North Tyneside General Hospital.

*£8.6m at Wansbeck General Hospital.

*£3.3m at Hexham General Hospital.

The figures also reveal the trust spent £510,000 to cut its maintenance backlog in 2019-20.

Damon Kent, managing director of Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management, said: “Patient and staff safety, and the quality of care we provide, are always top priorities.

"We currently have a £54m major investment programme underway which includes our £30m new hospital in Berwick and £8m new sterilisation unit in Cramlington.

"This follows construction of our state of the art emergency hospital built in 2015.

"Other investment includes £14m to upgrade infrastructure at our Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals. In addition to this, we also have ongoing and robust maintenance regimes in place.”

In December, the Government announced a £600m scheme to help Trusts eradicate the backlog – with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust awarded £2.1m towards 14 projects.

Nationally, £9bn should have been spent on eradicating the backlog of maintenance work required across all NHS trusts.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the maintenance backlog is now broadly equivalent to the annual cost of running the entire NHS estate.

He added: “Unfortunately it is patients and service users who are paying the price for this backlog."

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said The Government is investing "record sums" to upgrade NHS buildings.

He said: “Alongside funding to deliver 48 hospitals and 20 major hospital upgrades across the country, we are providing £600m to tackle nearly 1,800 urgent maintenance projects – on top of the NHS’s existing capital budgets which are directed to local maintenance priorities.”