St Helier hospital investment urgently needed

16 May 2024
St Helier hospital

More than 2,000 hospital buildings were built before the foundation of the NHS, recent research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The analysis of NHS Digital data shows that one in seven (15%) hospital buildings in England were built before the foundation of the NHS in 1948. Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs St Helier hospital, is one of the worst affected.

At Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, nearly two-thirds of buildings (65.5%) predate the NHS, the second highest proportion in the county. Overall, for 34 of 211 NHS trusts more than a quarter of their buildings were built before 1948. Only 30 trusts had no buildings at all that predated the founding of the NHS.

Many of the hospitals with large numbers of buildings over 75 years old have seen shocking incidents of patient care being impacted by crumbling infrastructure. At St Helier Hospital, lifts have reportedly broken down three times a day and an Intensive Care Unit was used as a storeroom as it was deemed unsafe for patients.

Back in April 2023, local Liberal Democrat councillors backed calls for investment at St Helier hospital, including sorting the disrepair at the site.  

Commenting on the research, Merton Liberal Democrats' spokesperson on health and Parliamentary candidate for Mitcham & Morden, Cllr Jenifer Gould said:

"There were cross-party calls for investment and repairs, but it's unclear if Labour-run Merton Council has made any actual progress on holding the Government and the NHS to account on the work.

"The Liberal Democrats in Parliament are challenging the Government to announce a plan to upgrade outdated NHS buildings. It's a national scandal that millions of patients are being treated in old and crumbling hospitals."

It follows recent figures revealing the NHS repair backlog has now reached a record £12bn. Despite this, the Conservative Government has raided £1bn from the NHS capital budget to cover day to day running costs.

Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP said:  

"It is a national scandal that millions around the country are being treated in old and crumbling hospitals that are no longer fit for purpose.

"Patients and staff deserve the dignity of safe, modern and clean hospitals. But instead this government has shamefully chosen to raid capital budgets for fixing crumbling buildings to plug the gap in day-to-day costs, while hospitals are literally falling apart.

"Rishi Sunak needs to get a grip and announce a plan to fix our crumbling hospital buildings. Patients should not have to pay the price for this Conservative government's chronic neglect of the health service."



The full analysis can be found here.

NHS Digital source here.

The latest National Audit Office report on the government's progress with the New Hospital Programme can be found here.

Under the Conservatives' plans, NHS spending will still be £1.7bn less in real terms next year (2024-25) than it was last year, as a result of the Spring Budget.

Source: Spring Budget 2024 - Page 25 & Economic and Fiscal Outlook - Page 146

Issues with St Helier reported by ITV here.

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.