Health Policy

08.03.19

Capital investment in NHS being slashed to cover rising day-to-day costs, new report reveals

A short-term approach to NHS funding has led to “years of declining and inadequate” capital spending for the health service, according to a new report from the Health Foundation.

The charity has warned that an ageing infrastructure together with a substantial and growing repairs backlog was likely to undermine ambitions to transform the health service outlined in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) uses its capital budget to fund long-term investments in the NHS such as new buildings, equipment, and IT, and also pays for maintenance and research.

But the Health Foundation’s report said the capital budget has declined in real terms over the past eight years, with NHS trusts experiencing a 21% reduction in their capital funding.

Large amounts of funding have been transferred from long-term capital investment to cover the day-today cost of running the NHS which is growing drastically due to rising demand.

This year alone, £500m of capital investment was cancelled or postponed.

The charity said the poor investment in the UK health service was putting patient care and staff productivity at risk.

Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “Capital investment is not a nice-to-have failing to carry out repairs and invest in modern equipment and technology puts at risk the quality of patient care.

“It will also undermine the NHS’s ability to improve and transform care in line with the NHS Long-Term Plan.”

“Just bringing capital funding for the health service in England up to the OECD average would require around £3.5 billion extra next year, rising to £4.1billion by 2023/24.”

The analysis also revealed that the UK’s spending on capital investment in relation to its GDP equates to about half of the spending seen in similar countries.

Responding to the report, Nick Ville, director of policy at NHS Confederation, said: “This timely report highlights the worrying fall in capital investment in the NHS – we are spending less on capital than nearly all OECD countries.

“Hospitals badly need more capital spending to be able to offer patients the latest treatments, tackle a maintenance backlog and modernise outdated technology that wastes staff time. 

“Failure to tackle this will undermine the ability of the NHS to deliver high-quality patient care. It is essential that this is addressed in the spending review this autumn.”

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS staffing crisis to double without radical change in ‘vicious cycle of growing shortages and declining quality’

21/03/2019NHS staffing crisis to double without radical change in ‘vicious cycle of growing shortages and declining quality’

The NHS could have a shortfall of 70,000 nurses and 7,000 GPs within the next five years and the crisis is so now so severe it “cannot be f... more >
NHS chiefs accuse NHSE of scrapping flagship targets because it can no longer meet them

20/03/2019NHS chiefs accuse NHSE of scrapping flagship targets because it can no longer meet them

Plans to scrap the flagship four-hour A&E targets have been criticised by NHS chiefs, with some accusing NHS England of trying to abandon key... more >
Private hospital in Dundee announces closure with 50 jobs to go

20/03/2019Private hospital in Dundee announces closure with 50 jobs to go

A private hospital in Dundee has announced that it will close in the summer because of falling numbers of local people paying for private insuran... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

20/03/2019Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

Jon Baker, PHBChoices director at NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) believes that the extension of Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) is a great opportunity for clinical commissioning groups (CCG) to expand and improve care provision – provided that the right infrastructure is in place. The personalisation agenda is transforming ou... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

20/03/2019Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

Kirstie Stott, director of The Inspiring Leaders Network, discusses organisational and system curiosity alongside the work of the Shadow Board Pr... more >
Fiction as Therapy

20/03/2019Fiction as Therapy

Elaine Bousfield of ZunTold Publishing – a press specialising in fiction for children and young people – discusses ‘Fiction as ... more >
Capturing funds for the NHS estate

20/03/2019Capturing funds for the NHS estate

Aahsan Rahman, department head of town planning at NHS Property Services (NHSPS), looks at an alternative and perhaps underutilised funding sourc... more >
The digital revolution for healthcare is now!

20/03/2019The digital revolution for healthcare is now!

Richard Corbridge, chief digital & information officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, focuses on the practices his trust has put in p... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News