Boris Johnson’s marketing campaign pledge to construct 40 new hospitals by 2030 faces scrutiny by a public spending watchdog.
The Nationwide Audit Workplace (NAO) is planning a “worth for cash evaluate” that would embody rising prices attributable to rising inflation and whether or not the hospitals are literally new.
The proposed probe was unveiled in a letter to Shadow Well being Secretary Wes Streeting by NAO chief Gareth Davies after the Labor MP warned it was a waste of taxpayers’ cash.
The opposition frontbencher had referred to as for an investigation into the delays surrounding the hospital program introduced by the prime minister throughout the 2019 election marketing campaign in a bid to ease strain on the US NHS.
Ministers have defended the progress of this system and demand they “proceed with this work”.
Nevertheless, Mr Streeting stated many NHS trusts have been nonetheless awaiting the allocation of funds and lots of plans have been really adjustments or refurbishments, not “new hospitals”.
Late final 12 months, Labor chief Sir Keir Starmer challenged the Prime Minister a brand new communication playbook doc for the hospital programthe Trusts suggested to rename hospitals even when they included an extra wing or concerned a significant transforming of an current hospital constructing.
The Division for Well being and Social Care’s web site, below the headline ‘What’s going to these new hospitals seem like?’, reads: ‘In some instances they are going to be new hospitals on a brand new web site, in different instances they are going to be a brand new hospital on an current web site , main transforming or renovation of an current web site or a brand new wing of an current hospital supplied it features a full scientific service.”
Within the letter to Mr Streeting, first reported by the Observer, Mr Davies, the NAO’s auditor, stated: “I can verify that I have already got plans to undertake a worth for cash evaluate of the brand new hospital scheme later this 12 months begin and report my findings in 2023.
“I’ve forwarded your letter to my Well being Worth for Cash staff in order that they will take into account the particular points you raised when creating the scope of the evaluate.
“Specifically, I word your feedback on the impression of delays on rising prices on this interval of excessive inflation and whether or not all initiatives really meet the ‘new hospitals’ classification.”
“Boris Johnson’s Fantasy”
The probe will add additional strain on the embattled prime minister, who’s already grappling with a string of scandals social gathering gate and allegations of sexual misconduct in opposition to Tory MPs, together with Chris Pincher.
Mr Streeting stated: “The one place these ’40 new hospitals’ presently exist is in Boris Johnson’s creativeness.
“The promise of the election manifesto now seems to be one more instance of conservatives over-promising and under-delivering.”
The Conservative Manifesto stated the social gathering would “construct and fund 40 new hospitals over the subsequent 10 years.”
Chatting with Sky Information’ program Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey stated various initiatives had already been accomplished and others have been underway.
She stated: “That is fairly a long-term undertaking.
“As we proceed with this work, I do know that many communities throughout the nation actually admire the extra services — the transformed services in addition to the brand-new services — to make sure they’ve healthcare for the 21 affected person.”
The Division for Well being and Social Care stated in a press release: “We’re on monitor to ship 40 new hospitals by 2030.
“We work intently with the NHS and belief the event of their blueprints.
“Every of the developments are new hospitals, providing model new, state-of-the-art services to make sure firstclass healthcare for NHS sufferers and workers by changing outdated infrastructure.”