Hospital lobby

Ed Argar: Shaping improved care through hospital building programme

Last month, we launched the first stage in the selection process for eight more new hospitals, as part of the largest hospital building programme in a generation.

This government has committed to delivering 40 new hospitals across the country by 2030, backed by an initial £3.7bn investment.

These new hospitals will provide better care for patients, better utilising new technology, an improved working environment for staff and help the NHS reach its net zero carbon ambition.

In October 2020, we announced details of our 40 new hospitals commitment, naming the first 32 hospitals which would benefit from the programme. Together with eight schemes already in progress, which have been included in the national programme, we will build 48 hospitals in total.

Selecting the further eight hospitals will be another exciting milestone in the most important hospital building programme in a generation and I am looking forward to seeing initial proposals from trusts.

As part of this, we have launched a new Our NHS Buildings website which will provide everyone with an overview of major government investment in NHS infrastructure, from the new hospitals to upgrades, where you will be able to track the progress of builds in your area, with an interactive map linking to pictures and updates from the trusts.

It is rightly said that ‘we shape our buildings and our buildings shape us.’

These new hospitals will transform NHS services for millions of people for decades to come so it’s important we get this next step right.  

We’re inviting expressions of interest from mental health, acute and community NHS trusts and I am particularly keen to see plans for new mental health hospitals so we can further improve services and level up care across the country.

Trusts have until September to submit their plans. Those that progress to the next stage will then be asked to submit more detailed applications later this year, with a final decision expected early next year.

We will prioritise plans that put sustainability and modern methods of construction, as well as those that demonstrate they will benefit the working lives of our dedicated NHS workforce, and most importantly, aid the delivery of top quality, joined up care for patients for decades to come.

These new hospitals will be delivered through a national model within a limited financial envelope, cost-effectively and at speed, whilst continuously refining and improving our approach.

The eight schemes we will select will benefit from this programmatic approach: best practice from more advanced schemes will be shared across the hospitals being built over the decade. We will also utilise options to standardise processes and methods of construction which can then be replicated across other schemes to provide value for money and ensure the hospitals are built as quickly as possible.

In June, we also published a prior information notice, advising the construction industry of the suppliers and skills needed to build our 40 new hospitals. As part of which, we are inviting suppliers of all sizes and across a range of construction disciplines, who could potentially play a part in the delivery of this historic programme, to express their interest in engaging by completing a short survey.

Clear guidance on how to fill in the expression of interest form is available on I urge NHS trusts to share their strategies on how the scheme would benefit their patients, staff and local community by 9 September.

On August 25, 2021 NHE365 are hosting our Net-Zero NHS virtual event, including a panel on NHS estates which will address how the new Net Zero Carbon Hospital Standard will apply to these 40 new hospitals. Register for the event here.

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The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

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