Bassetlaw hospitals £15m repair bill puts staff and patients at risk

editorial image

The NHS has just released data showing Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals need more than £15 million of urgent repairs to prevent catastrophic failures.

A report from NHS Digital on hospitals nationwide found that DBTH NHS Trust currently has a backlog of repairs or replacements on its buildings and equipment totalling £79.6m.

Of those, jobs worth about £15.8m are classed as “high risk” repairs, meaning they could present major disruption to clinical services or deficiencies in safety liable to cause serious injury if not addressed immediately.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at health think tank the King’s Fund, said: “Continued underinvestment has left some hospitals delivering healthcare in buildings that are quite literally falling apart.

“Deteriorating facilities and unreliable equipment can expose staff and patients to increasing safety risks, and make NHS services less productive.”

Last year, DBTH spent £2.3m trying to reduce its backlog, but it continued to swell, rising by 55 per cent on the previous year.

Since 2013-14, the total bill has risen by 109 per cent.

The high risk repair bill stood at £1.1 million in 2013-14.

Examples of maintenance required include upgrading software on medical equipment, maintaining generators and boilers, and ensuring buildings’ structural integrity.

According to the data, which covers the 12 months to March, problems with the trust’s infrastructure led to 11 incidents where patients were harmed or put at risk of harm.

Clinical services were delayed, cancelled or otherwise affected because of problems with buildings or facilities on four occasions.

The repair bill across England reached a record £6 billion at the end of March. It has risen every year since 2011-12, when it stood at £4 billion.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Investment to tackle this maintenance work has increased by 25 per cent to £404m in 2017-18.”