How could spending limits impact industry?
HIP capital programme aspires to “make NHS infrastructure fit for the future”
Described by Hancock as “the biggest, boldest hospital building programme in a generation”, the HIP, is a concise 23-page document that trails a new government strategy for investing in NHS land, buildings, equipment and technology.
The plan, published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), sets out a five-year programme of investment in health infrastructure, including a new hospital building programme.
However, “HIP isn’t just about building new hospitals,” Hancock said, “it’s about capital to modernise diagnostics and tech, modernise our primary care and mental health buildings, and help address critical safety issues in the NHS.”
The new regime will provide indicative, five planning envelopes that will be confirmed annually and include capital to:
- Build new hospitals.
- Modernise the primary care estate.
- Improve mental health facilities.
- Invest in new diagnostics and technology.
- Help eradicate critical safety issues in the NHS estate.
The report lists six hospitals getting £2.7bn in funding automatically to develop new hospitals, which include:
- Barts Health Trust
- Epsom and St Helier Trust
- West Hertfordshire Trust
- Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust
- University Hospitals of Leicester Trust
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
With an additional list of 21 trusts receiving seed funding of £100m. Take a look at the sites and see if they are located within your territory.
It is hoped that providing multi-year capital settlements will provide greater certainty to develop capacity, plan effectively, get better value for money and unlock delivery of commitments already made – this could provide opportunities for industry.
Speaking at the NHS Providers Conference, Hancock said that organisations in the NHS need to work together more closely to manage NHS capital expenditure, through greater budget transparency and improved forecasting.
“After all, if one trust breaches capital spending limits, then clearly that’s going to have a knock-on effect on others and their capital plans: we all share the same national pot,” he said.
Integrated care systems (ICS) are due to have primary responsibility for spending within their capital envelopes (covering acute trusts, mental health trusts, community trusts, primary care – and of course linking in with ambulance and specialist trusts) and according to Hancock, there will be a “capital committee” including NHS England, NHS Improvement and DHSC signing off capital nationally.
The DHSC said the investment announced in HIP is on top of the extra £33.9bn a year by 2023 to 2024 that the government is providing to the NHS. It follows the government’s recent commitment of £1.8bn in capital funding for 20 hospital upgrades and other critical infrastructure works for the NHS, as well as the announcement of £200m to replace more than 300 diagnostic machines across the country to help drive earlier cancer diagnosis and improve survival.
The strategy will be welcome news to industry, however, as highlighted by the King’s Fund, the document leaves a “puzzling overall impression for four reasons: its timing (the report was published just a few days after local health and care systems submitted their draft five-year strategic plans for transforming how health and care services are delivered), how the sites were selected, concerns over delivery and its scope”.