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Hospitals: Construction

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 293624, tabled on 2 October 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's News story of 29 September 2019, New hospital building programme, which NHS bodies were involved in the assessment of the relative merits of those 40 hospital building projects prior to that announcement being made.

Answered on

8 October 2019

On 29 September, the Government announced the largest hospital building programme in a generation as part of a new Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) that is backed by a long-term programme of investment. The plan’s new, strategic approach will ensure the health service will have world-class facilities for patients and staff for the long term.

The HIP1 and HIP2 schemes were selected through the following process:

NHS England and NHS Improvement conducted a strategic assessment of hospital estates and came up with a list of priority schemes. These were selected on the basis of age and/or where a combination of other metrics that indicated a high need for investment in the estate. This included the consideration of the high value scheme bids submitted by providers as part of previous sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) capital rounds, and other relevant previous representations by trusts and STPs. The other metrics being - Estates and facilities running costs; backlog costs; Critical Infrastructure Risk (a subset of the highest risk elements of backlog with a potential for significant impact e.g. fire safety); unused and functionally unsuitable space; and incidents having an impact on clinical services.

Based on that, a small number of schemes were identified as being suitable to fully fund now, given their advanced level of readiness to deliver in near future. These are the six projects for HIP1.

The remaining list of priority schemes was then further filtered based on a combination of criteria, including the level of Critical Infrastructure Risk in the estate and an overall check of the regional breakdown (to make sure no regions were over or under-represented), and engagements through National Health Service regional teams. This gave us the 21 projects identified to receive seed funding to kick start their schemes, ready for building in HIP2.

HIP scheme selection was not specifically discussed at the NHS Property Board, which did not meet during the period when final decisions were made. However, the underlying principles and issues have been discussed previously by the NHS Property Board and members were involved in discussions that led to the final selection of schemes.

Schemes will be required to submit business cases to provide the required standard assurance on the key features including patient benefits, value for money and commercial terms etc. A number of the six HIP1 schemes have submitted business cases to NHS Improvement previously but these will need to be developed further or revised to align with the current scope of their scheme. The Department is looking to speed up and streamline the business case process and approvals.

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