Boris Johnson pledges billions for dozens of hospitals in England

Follows controversy over his promise to erect 40 new hospitals  

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Friday 02 October 2020 18:52
Coronavirus in numbers

Boris Johnson has promised billions of pounds to build and upgrade more than two dozen hospitals, following criticism of his pledge to build 40 new institutions across England last year.

On the eve of his party’s annual conference, held online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister said he wanted more people to have access to “top-class healthcare services” in their local area.

Last year Mr Johnson pledged his government would build "40 new hospitals across England over the next decade".

But the promise proved controversial when it emerged that just six NHS trusts would receive money to start building work immediately, while "seed funding" would be available for a further 34 hospitals.

Now the Department for Health and Social Care says Trusts will be fully funded to deliver 25 hospitals.  

Some will be built on new sites, while in other cases a new hospital will be built to replace existing facilities.

One of the hospitals listed, the Royal Liverpool, was due to be finished in 2017, but has suffered a series of delays and setbacks.

The government said the package was worth £3.7 billion.

Mr Johnson, who was himself hopitalised earlier this year with Covid-19, said: "The dedication and tireless efforts of our nurses, doctors and all healthcare workers have kept the NHS open throughout this pandemic.

"But no matter what this virus throws at us we are determined to build back better and deliver the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.”

His government would “level up our NHS so more people have top-class healthcare services in their local area," he said.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:"I love the NHS and I will do all I can to make sure it is there for you and your family over the years to come.

"The biggest hospital building programme in a generation will help protect the NHS long into the future."

Dame Donna Kinnair, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

“Whether hospitals are rebuilt or wholly new, they will struggle to provide safe patient care without enough nurses.

"Unfair salaries are pushing nursing staff out of jobs they love when England’s NHS is already missing tens of thousands.

"To get the numbers for safe care, the Prime Minister must invest in the education of a new generation and increase nursing pay by 12.5% with immediate effect."

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