Health leader claims on scheme has experienced 25% cost rises over three years

NHS trust leaders have hit out at the cost of delays to the government’s New Hospital Programme (NHP). 

First announced by Boris Johnson in 2020, the NHP was meant to deliver 40 new hospitals in England by 2030 but the National Audit Office found last summer that the scheme was already behind schedule and would only complete 32 schemes in that time. 

Leeds Teaching Hospital

Perkins & Will’s design for the Leeds Teaching Hospital, one of the schemes which will be built using the ‘Hospital 2.0’ approach

According to NHS Providers, a membership organisation for NHS trusts in England, delays mean some trusts in the programme are spending more than £1m a month from already stretched budgets. 

“Our teams are coming in, day in day out to infrastructure that is not fit for purpose,” one trust leader reportedly told NHS Providers.  

“We don’t have the facilities to treat patients in the way that any of us aspire to.”  

Another claimed they had seen a 25% increase in costs over the past three years. 

The government re-launched the programme last year, promising to add five more hospitals to the list of 40 and committing to complete some of the schemes in 25% less time than initially planned, using modern methods of construction. 

But then-health secretary Steve Barclay also admitted that seven of the jobs would not be finished by 2030. 

>> Read more: Rebooting the New Hospital Programme: Is this the solution to the NHS backlog?

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the programme was still characterised by “delay, indecision and soaring costs”. 

He added that going into a general election trust leaders wanted “a cast-iron commitment from all political parties to an NHS infrastructure programme that meets the needs of hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services”.  

The standardised design for how up to 16 major hospitals to be built using modern methods of construction is expected to be published this month.