More than 100 NHS treatments or “clinical services” were axed or postponed every week last year because of poor maintenance of hospitals and other health service buildings.
Ben Glaze www.mirror.co.uk
Labour research uncovered the “number of incidents caused by estates and infrastructure failure which resulted in clinical services being delayed, cancelled or otherwise interfered with owing to problems or failures related to the estates and infrastructure failure”.
House of Commons Library analysis of latest NHS Digital data shows 5,908 incidents in 2019/20 – up 23% from a year earlier when there were 4,810.
It means an average of 113 incidents each week, or 16 a day.
Clinical service incidents can be caused by power supply problems, equipment failures, waste management issues or problems with heating or flooding.
An NHS intensive care unit was evacuated last month amid fears its roof could collapse.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, declared a critical incident.
Labour plans to tackle Health Secretary Matt Hancock over a £9billion NHS-wide maintenance backlog when ministers answer departmental questions in the Commons on Tuesday.
Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders said: “These figures reveal the true cost to patients of years of underfunding in the NHS.
“Waiting lists were already at record levels pre-Covid and have got worse in the last year and so additional delays and cancellations because the Government has failed to support basic maintenance and infrastructure costs are unacceptable.
“Patients should not be suffering longer in pain because of this.
“The Government’s record on hospitals is shameful.
“Instead of improving or maintaining basic hospital facilities they’re letting the repair bill grow and grow.”
According to NHS Providers senior policy officer Patrick Garratt, the maintenance backlog bill rose by 40% between 2018/19 and 2019/20, from £6.4bn to £9bn.
The Department of Health was approached for comment.