Mental health trusts issue capital warning

02 March 2020

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Four out of five trusts estimate their capital requirements for the financial year to be between £4m and £20m, though a small number said their needs would be much higher. One trust said it needed £500m to tackle backlog and transformation in the long term.

NHS Providers said that, as well as upgrading the estate and adding capacity, trusts wanted to remove the 350 dormitory wards still in use in the NHS in England. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said patient privacy and dignity are not respected in these wards and have no place in 21st century patient care. Two-thirds of trusts estimated they will need between £50m and £150m of capital funding each over the next five to 10 years.

Trusts were concerned the lack of capital was compromising patient safety. Some told NHS Providers they did not have enough capital funding to address CQC concerns about the condition of their estate.

NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery (pictured) said that while recent increases in capital funding were welcome, it was worrying that this was overwhelmingly focused on the acute sector.

‘We have warned repeatedly of the risks of neglecting investment in NHS mental health facilities,’ she said. ‘Vulnerable patients are being placed at increased risk because the facilities they need are no longer fit for purpose to deliver the specialist care they deserve.’