On the Critical List? Britain's Ageing Hospitals
Many hospitals are crumbling and building budgets have been raided to plug holes in daily running costs, but is selling NHS land and buildings the answer? Lesley Curwen reports.
Can the NHS afford to run and replace its ageing hospitals?
Many hospitals are crumbling and have huge backlogs of required maintenance work. It affects patients - sometimes life-saving operations are being cancelled due to lack of capacity - or practical problems such as leaks or faulty air conditioning.
Money from capital budgets has been used to plug gaps in day to day spending - meaning an ever growing black hole of building work is backing up. So where to get the money?
The Government is adopting plans which would encourage NHS trusts to sell off spare land and try to get money for new buildings from the commercial sector.
But private finance initiatives are no longer an option. Trust deficits make borrowing difficult and hospital leaders say its difficult to get access to the money they need - like wading through treacle, one says - because of perverse rules and regulations.
So how should we pay for much needed life support for our hospitals?
Reporter: Lesley Curwen
Producer: Rob Cave
Editor: Gail Champion.