It is “highly unlikely” the federal government will ship on its pledge to construct 40 new hospitals, a gaggle of MPs has claimed – whereas warning the NHS is “crumbling before our eyes”.
In a damning report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has stated they’ve “extreme concerns” in regards to the “lack of progress” the federal government’s New Hospitals Programme (NHP) has made thus far.
The goal variety of new hospitals was diminished to 32 in July however even getting that far is “highly unlikely”, the committee added.
Meanwhile, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) into the federal government’s levelling up programme has discovered spiralling prices, abilities shortages and delayed decision-making – resulting in authorities struggling to ship initiatives on time.
The levelling up and hospitals guarantees have been cornerstones of the 2019 manifesto upon which the present authorities was elected.
Dame Meg Hillier, the chair of the PAC, stated: “The physical edifice that is the NHS is quite literally crumbling before our eyes. There was nothing inevitable about this heartbreaking crisis.”
She added that blame may be “laid squarely at the door of the decision to raid budgets reserved for maintenance and investment in favour of day-to-day spending”.
“We are now seeing the consequences of this short-termism visited on patients and services,” she added.
The Conservatives’ repeated promise to construct 40 new hospitals got here underneath scrutiny on the 2019 election path amid questions on what certified as a hospital.
In order to construct the revised goal of 32 hospitals, the federal government carried out a “new standard hospital design” – standardised buildings that would then be constructed across the nation to chop down on prices and sources.
However, the PAC reported that the most recent model of the hospital plan is “very likely to produce hospitals that are too small”.
The causes for this embody factoring in an improved social care plan – one thing else promised by Boris Johnson – which has not but materialised.
A Sky News investigation forged doubt on the federal government’s means to fulfil its promise in 2022, when the deadlines for a number of hospital completion dates have been pushed again.
Dame Hillier added: “Though we have no confidence that the NHP will deliver on its current promises, we hope that the recommendations in our report help to get it back on track – for the sake of all citizens who desperately need the NHS to get well soon.”
The report additionally raised issues about how the unique 40 hospitals have been chosen – and that there was no documentation to clarify how 27 areas have been chosen.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson stated: “We are committed to delivering 40 new hospitals by 2030, expected to be backed by over £20bn of investment and additional clinical projects.”
Levelling up in bother
In order to implement levelling up, the federal government has introduced £9.5bn of funding in three rounds since 2019.
But a brand new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has discovered that, as of March this 12 months, £2bn has been given to “local places” – and simply £0.9bn has been spent.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) stated one other £1.5bn has since been spent.
The report additionally discovered that – of the 1,300 initiatives supported by the cash, simply 64 have been accomplished and 74 have nonetheless not but been began. Some 1,143 are at the moment underway.
However, very like with the hospitals, the report discovered the federal government’s deadlines are “unlikely to be met” and a few 50% of constructing initiatives due in March 2024 had not even signed contracts by March 2023.
Inflation, abilities shortages within the building sector and delays in authorities have been all blamed by the NAO – with a median delay of 10 months per venture.
Zoe Billingham, director of the assume tank IPPR North, stated: “This report includes a litany of missed deadlines, moving goalposts and dysfunction in the way levelling up funds have been allocated to councils as part of the government’s flagship programme.”
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Labelling the report’s figures “out of date,” A DLUHC spokesperson stated: “In the eight months since March, DLUHC has paid over £1.5bn of further funding out to local authorities.
“We have dedicated £13bn to levelling up, supporting initiatives to enhance on a regular basis life for individuals throughout the UK, regenerating city centres and excessive streets, native transport and cultural and heritage property.”