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West Suffolk NHS Trust has big bill for repairs

Data from the NHS has shown that millions of pounds of repairs are needed by the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

NHS Digital has shown a backlog of maintenance across NHS property and facilities in England, with the trust having a gap of £25.7 million needed for repairs or replacement of its buildings and equipment.

A spokesperson for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our buildings and equipment are absolutely safe.

“Like most NHS trusts we do have backlog on some maintenance and repairs, largely due to the age of our sites and buildings, but we have a very robust process for prioritising structural and estate work, and will always ensure critically urgent work is completed.

“Our general backlog is reviewed at least once a year, and then delivered factoring in the budget available to us.”

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. (5179330)
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. (5179330)

Around £3.3 million of the jobs in the data are classed as ‘high risk’ repairs.

The data said they could cause ‘catastrophic failure, major disruption to clinical services or deficiencies in safety liable to cause serious injury and prosecution’ if not addressed immediately.

Examples of work are upgrading software on medical equipment, maintaining generators and boilers, and ensuring the structural integrity of buildings.

In the 12 months to March, problems with the trust’s infrastructure had reportedly led to 25 incidents where patients were either harmed or put in risk of harm.

The spokesman for the trust added: “Of the infrastructure incidents we reported in this time-frame, all were classed as causing no harm or very low level harm. That said we take all incidents, whether actual or near-misses, very seriously and do all we can to ensure learning takes places to prevent reoccurrences.”

The bill for repairs across England was at a record £6 billion at the end of March and last year the trust spent £1.3 million to try and reduce its own backlog.

Amber Jabbal, head of policy at NHS Providers who represents trusts across the NHS, said: “Although more of the capital spending this year has been targeted at reducing the backlog of repairs, this is likely to come at the expense of investing in new equipment and facilities to improve the experience of patients.”

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