Government pledges £1.8 billion to improve NHS facilities in England

But RCN says nurse recruitment and education should also be prioritised

But RCN says nurse recruitment and education should also be prioritised

Prime minister Boris Johnson and (left) health and social care secretary Matt Hancock
announce the funding at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire. Picture: PA

The RCN and the nursing regulator have welcomed a government pledge of £1.8 billion to fund facilities in the NHS in England – but warn that this must be backed by an increase in nurse numbers.

Announcing the funding, prime minister Boris Johnson said the money would be used to supply more beds, equipment and wards.

‘It’s time to face up to this challenge and make sure the NHS receives the funds it needs, to continue being the best healthcare service in the world,’ he said.

But Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said: ‘Better facilities need to be matched by enough of the right people.  

‘Investing in recruiting and retaining nurses, midwives and nursing associates – including supporting their ongoing training and development – must also be a priority to ensure the safest and best care is provided for everyone who needs it.’

Prioritising nurse education

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair also highlighted the need to increase staff numbers, and reiterated the college’s call for £1 billion to be invested each year in nursing education.

‘The government needs a detailed strategy for increasing workforce numbers, and an end to the lack of legal accountability that has allowed the current crisis to happen,’ she said.

Labour says more money is needed to ensure patient safety

Responding to the announcement, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the investment would not cover the £6 billion repair bill the NHS in England needs.

He added that patient safety had been put at risk due to the government cutting capital investment budgets by £4 billion.

Cornwall and Manchester among funding recipients

As part of the government's pledged funding, £850 million will be used to upgrade facilities and equipment across 20 hospitals in England.

From this money, trusts that will benefit include: Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, which will receive £99.9 million to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Truro; and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which will receive £72.3 million to build a new adult mental health inpatient unit in Manchester.

The other £1 billion promised by the government will go to existing NHS projects such as new hospitals and health centres, or upgrades and refurbishments.

Funding promised to rest of the UK

  • Wales – £110 million
  • Scotland – £180 million
  • Northern Ireland – £60 million

Funding breakdown of the £850 million

The 20 hospitals set to be upgraded are part of the following trusts: 

  • Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust 
  • NHS South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group  
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust 
  • Wye Valley NHS Trust 
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust  
  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Groups and North East London NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust  
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System 
  • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 
  • Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Stockport NHS Foundation Trust 
  • NHS Wirral Clinical Conditioning Group 
  • Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust  
  • Isle of Wight NHS Trust   
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust 


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