40 New Hospitals - The Government's Broken Promise

Policy motion

As passed by conference

Submitted by: 10 members
Mover: Daisy Cooper MP (Spokesperson for Health and Social Care).
Summation: Josh Babarinde.

Conference notes that:

  1. The Government has broken their 2019 manifesto pledge to build "40 new hospitals by 2030" according to the National Audit Office (NAO), and delays to the programme have only been made worse by the Government's failure to address Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in hospitals.
  2. Many of the projects that make up the Government's New Hospital Programme are not new hospitals but renovations or expansions of existing sites, and several projects' planning and approval commenced long before the announcement of the programme undermining the pledge itself.
  3. It is a national scandal that patients are being treated in hospitals with roofs and floors at risk of collapse, as well as in other life-expired buildings.
  4. The NHS estate is deteriorating and now has an £11.6bn backlog of maintenance, almost half of which relates to high or significant risk repairs.
  5. The Government's New Hospitals Programme (NHP) reset in May 2023 has delayed the completion date of eight hospitals to after 2030.
  6. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) concluded that they have no confidence that the government will achieve their latest target of 32 new hospitals by 2030.
  7. Those hospitals being built based on the Hospital 2.0 design are very likely to be too small for future patient demand.
  8. The final standardised design for Hospital 2.0 is not expected to be completed until May 2024.
  9. Only ten out of the 40 projects have received full planning permission and several projects have no planning permission at all.

Conference believes that:

  1. It is scandalous that the Conservatives pledged to build 40 new hospitals in full knowledge that many of the projects were not hospitals and were not new.
  2. Patients and staff deserve the dignity of safe, modern and clean hospitals.
  3. This Government's commitment to eradicate RAAC from the NHS estate by 2035 is not quick enough, putting patients and staff at risk of harm and hospitals at risk of closure.
  4. The Government has not adequately accounted for the increase in construction costs due to inflation and the impact these costs will have on the success of the NHP.

Conference notes with concern that:

  1. NHS patients and staff cannot use affected buildings unless safety measures are installed and RAAC replaced.
  2. The Government has pilfered capital spend budgets to plug Conservative cuts to frontline spending which has contributed to the NHS repairs backlog which is more than £11.6bn.
  3. The Government has not allocated enough funding to ensure all the hospitals in the NHP will be built.
  4. The Government's NHP is behind schedule and will not be able to help many hospital buildings which are in urgent need of repair.
  5. The Government neglected to include five hospitals they knew to have RAAC in the NHP announced in October 2020 and they were only added to the programme in May 2023.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Urgently release the funds that they have already committed, so that construction can start as soon as possible.
  2. Refresh the 10-year major capital programme to give long-term certainty to delivering new or replaced hospital buildings.
  3. Review outdated government finance rules which prevent NHS Trusts from investing the funds they've raised into their buildings.
  4. Take action to fix crumbling hospitals and replace RAAC by:
    1. Providing urgent clarity over where RAAC has been found in hospitals and set up a national risk register.
    2. Bringing forward their commitment to eradicate RAAC by 2035 and review whether the existing £685 million fund up to 2024-25 is sufficient.
    3. Bringing construction forward on replacements for the seven entirely RAAC hospitals before the end of 2025 where possible.
    4. Amending their Minimum Viable Product version of Hospital 2.0 to ensure future hospitals are not too small and set out how these future hospitals meet the total required hospital capacity nationally and by region.
  5. Publish a plan to recruit and retain a skilled workforce to carry out the NHP.
  6. Work with relevant NHS organisations to create a package of support and advice for hospitals that are in a poor condition but are not a top priority to be fixed, to help address the additional problems affecting patients and staff.

Applicability: England only.

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