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Maintenance repairs backlog

25th October 2007

Hospitals and other NHS trusts have a backlog of key maintenance repairs that amount to £4 billion.

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New figures released by the government show that the backlog of repairs ranges from mending heating systems and repairing roofing and drainage to work that was needed to meet fire safety regulations.

The £4bn figure is eight times the surplus the NHS now has – which was achieved by cost-cutting across many NHS trusts – and prompted Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who obtained the figures, to brand the surplus was a “sham.?

The Department of Health pointed out that the repairs come under a different budget and have no bearing on the surplus.

The findings were reported in Hospital Doctor and reveal that the large city hospital trusts have the biggest maintenance backlog.

They include: Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust (£137,859,814); St Mary’s NHS Trust (£118,626,123); Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (£107,481,035); The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust (£88,521,270) and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (£84,800,146).

Mr Lansley said: “The truth is that the NHS surplus, which the government enjoys boasting about, is a sham. Public health budgets, education and training budgets and now the basic maintenance and upkeep of our hospitals have been laundered to produce this surplus.?

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said urgent maintenance work that will affect patient care was always prioritised but the making of such decisions was down to the local NHS trust concerned.

He said there were occasions when low priority maintenance work was backlogged to prevent disruption to patient services.

 

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