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Health Service Capital Estate

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 13 April 2021

In our election manifesto, we committed to building 40 new hospitals by 2030 and upgrading another 20 hospitals. We are delivering on that commitment and now have plans to build 48 new hospitals this decade. We will open a competition for the eight further new hospitals shortly.

I thank my right hon. Friend for the investment that we have seen in Scunthorpe General Hospital over the last year. Residents are seeing those changes and it will certainly help us in the medium term. Looking to the future, will he continue to work with me on the plans for a new hospital for Scunthorpe?

I thank everybody who is working at Scunthorpe General Hospital for their incredible effort over the last year. My hon. Friend has been an assiduous campaigner for Scunthorpe hospital and the upgrades that we have already been able to put money into, and now there are eight slots for further new hospitals. Forty have been announced and we will build eight more over this decade. We will shortly announce how we are going to make that decision. There will be an open process and I look forward to working with her, her colleagues and colleagues across the NHS in Lincolnshire to make sure that they can put together the best possible application.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government for investing in mental health facilities at Heartlands Hospital and acute facilities at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. Together, this will see over £32 million being invested in our local NHS, so would my right hon. Friend agree that it is more important than ever, as our NHS starts to recover from the pandemic, that we provide the best possible health facilities?

Yes, I would. The NHS has clearly played such a critical part in the response to the pandemic in the last just over a year. I thank all those working in and around Stoke, including at the Royal Stoke, which is a great hospital. We have put £32 million into the local NHS, and we protected the NHS even through the worst challenges of this pandemic. Of course, I will be open to further investment to make sure that the NHS across Stoke gets the support that it needs so that we can build back better. Today, we are all able to see the improvements that are being made in the response to the covid pandemic, with the opening yesterday of step 2 —I am delighted, Mr Speaker, to see that you have had a haircut. So many of us have been looking forward to being able to get life back to normal, and thanks to the work of people across Stoke and across the nation, we are able to take these steps.

Congratulations to Mrs Hoyle on a job well done.

New investment is welcome, but it is no consolation to those patients missing out because the rest of the NHS estate is being starved of investment. We have seen a 23% increase in treatments being delayed or cancelled in the last year because of infrastructure failures, and the maintenance backlog went up by another 50% last year. We are not going to see those record waiting lists drop if operations are cancelled because basic repairs are not done, so will the Secretary of State tell us by what date we will see no more delays to treatment because of crumbling buildings?

We are putting a record amount of investment into the infrastructure of the NHS. That is evidenced by the questions that we have had already, with the improvements in Stoke, Scunthorpe and across the rest of the country. It is about not just the physical investment, but making sure that we support staff to be able to deliver and making sure that the NHS gets the support that it needs to tackle this backlog. We have a very significant backlog because of the pandemic and we are working incredibly hard to tackle it.