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Hospital Repairs

Volume 748: debated on Tuesday 23 April 2024

May I wish you a happy St. George’s day, Mr Speaker? I also wish the hon. Member for Bristol South (Karin Smyth) a speedy recovery; I hope to see her across the Dispatch Box soon.

The Government have invested significant sums to maintain and modernise NHS buildings, including £4.2 billion for integrated care boards this financial year. This is on top of the expected £20 billion for the new hospital programme. We have invested a further £1.7 billion for over 70 hospital upgrades across England, including in mid and south Essex.

I thank the Secretary of State very much for the Government’s commitment to delivering the £110 million in capital funding for south Essex hospitals and for her recent visit to Southend hospital, where she saw in our emergency village how much £8 million can do in the hands of Southend hospital’s inspirational NHS staff. However, our aged buildings do also need urgent maintenance, so what can she also do to deliver the £38 million in maintenance funding also needed for Southend hospital?

I thank my hon. Friend, and also wish her the very best of luck, as she is due to abseil down the hospital next month for its radiotherapy appeal. I very much hope she lands safely and does not trouble Southend hospital. I was delighted to visit the hospital at her invitation earlier this month, and I was very much impressed by the immediate improvements that the £8 million funding has meant in the Dowsett ward and for discharge and treatment times through accident and emergency. This is part of our plan, both through the urgent and emergency care plan and through our recovery plan for electives and the new hospital programme, to rebuild hospitals and provide that investment so that clinicians can use it to treat their local patients.

Last month, I met the chief executive of Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport. She informed me that the primary out-patient building, which provides 85% of out-patient capacity, was recently condemned. While funding has been secured to build two additional wards, they will not be ready for at least 15 months, causing huge disruption in the interim. Fourteen years of underinvestment has left Stepping Hill Hospital quite literally crumbling. Will the Government provide urgent capital investment for Stepping Hill, so that my constituents and our brilliant NHS staff can have the facilities they need?

I very much hope that the hon. Gentleman has already spoken to his integrated care board, because he will know that responsibility for local investment decisions rightly rests at local level. I can say that, as a Government, we have very much invested in hospital upgrades, including £4.2 billion going to integrated care boards this financial year. I hear the timetable he cites, but I encourage him to go to his integrated care board to ask what more it is doing.