Collapsing NHS buildings, leaky roofs, and faulty equipment have resulted in a 15 percent increase in incidents affecting patient care in NHS hospitals, new data has revealed.
According to statistics from NHS Digital, the maintenance backlog for more than 200 hospital trusts and emergency services has now reached 9.2 billion.
According to the data, the number of clinical service incidents – where care for at least five patients is delayed or canceled due to power outages, wastewater leaks, or equipment failures – increased by 15 percent in 2020-21 to a total of 6,812.
There have been 12,896 separate incidents of patient harm or safety hazards reported by NHS staff due to the physical structure or equipment of the hospital.
Under the Injury, Illness, and Hazardous Incident Reporting Regulations, there were 1,600 reports to the Health and Safety Committee in which incidents resulted in patient or employee injury.
Since 2010, the NHS maintenance backlog has been growing due to repeated shifts from NHS capital budgets to support daily expenses, with hospital buildings suffering.
In August, an intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn had to be evacuated for fear of the roof collapsing.
Norfolk Hospital has issued a “direct threat to the life and safety of patients” from a “catastrophic roof failure” that is beyond its intended lifespan.
The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has warned that the poor condition of the operating rooms at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire could derail its surgical waiting lists while other hospitals had to cancel operations after rat infestation or fires causing electrical faults.
Saffron Cordery, associate general manager of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, said: “Today’s numbers re-emphasize the need for a multi-year NHS equity financing agreement to improve access to treatment, reduce the supply backlog and transform services.” .
“We have argued for several years that the NHS needs extensive investment in its hospital, mental, community and emergency services properties and facilities to deal with the alarming maintenance backlog – which now stands at £ 9.2 billion. This is vital to ensure that NHS buildings and equipment are safe, efficient and reliable. “
In a briefing ahead of the Chancellor’s spending review, NHS providers called for additional investment of £ 1.5 billion as the bare minimum through 2024-25.
Ms. Cordery added: “We welcomed the government’s recent announcement to increase revenue for the NHS, but this will not bring the desired improvements without proper investment.
“When we reach the final, critical stage of the spending review negotiations, it is vital that the government heed the shop stewards’ warnings and provide the NHS with the capital investments it so desperately needs.”
The government has increased capital spending for the NHS to £ 5.8 billion in 2021 and has pledged to rebuild 48 hospitals as part of its health infrastructure plan. The NHS received an additional £ 500 million for the second half of this year specifically for investment to support routine operations this winter.