Crumbling Victorian buildings will be replaced and vital new equipment bought to give patients the best possible healthcare, the Prime Minister announced. Mr Johnson said a “great geyser” of money was coming out of the Treasury to fund the overhaul instead of relying on controversial private finance initiatives to cover the cost. During a visit to a hospital in Greater Manchester at the start of the Conservative Party conference, he insisted Brexit must be delivered to allow the government to focus on the public’s priorities.
“This is the moment for our country to invest in the NHS for the long-term,” he said.
“We are going to make the funds available because I think it is the number one priority of the British people.
“It’s one of the reasons why we need to honour the mandate of the people, get Brexit done on October 31, respect the democratic will of the people and then move on.
“But we can’t wait. That’s why we are announcing this hospital building programme now.”
Work will start on six new hospitals immediately and they are expected to be up and running by 2025. The rest will follow in the five years after that.
The hospitals will be either entirely new buildings or created from gutting existing structures to create state-of-the-art facilities.
Scanners and screening equipment that are more than 10 years old will also be replaced.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that combined with the extra £33.9 billion the Government has committed to the health service each year by 2023 it was the “the largest sum that has ever been invested in the NHS”.
He said the plan would end the short-term approach that has “hamstrung hospitals for decades”.
“I’ve seen first-hand the difference that world-class facilities can make for patients,” Mr Hancock said. “At their best, well-designed wards with the right facilities can speed up recovery, ensure patients receive the right treatment, and get medication on time.
“The health infrastructure plan will help ensure everyone in our country has access to the best possible healthcare when they need it, wherever they live, and whoever they are, for generations to come.”
The first phase will begin with a £2.7 billion cash injection for hospitals in London, Leeds, Leicester, Epsom, Harlow and West Hertfordshire.
The remaining projects, including up to a dozen smaller rural hospitals, will be completed by 2030.
After that open competition will be run to determine which new hospitals should be prioritised.