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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeHealthNew figures reveal 'significant challenge' of ageing infrastructure at Northwick Park Hospital

New figures reveal ‘significant challenge’ of ageing infrastructure at Northwick Park Hospital

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, overseeing Northwick Park Hospital on the Harrow border, emerged as one of the ten trusts grappling with the most significant backlog of high-risk repairs during the 2022-23 period, as per the latest published data.

Despite recent upgrades, the hospital, constructed in three phases between 1970 and 1975, continues to contend with the persistent challenge posed by its aging infrastructure, resulting in ongoing building repairs.

According to figures released by the BBC, the backlog of repair costs from trusts across the UK is detailed. The trust overseeing Northwick Park, Ealing Hospital, Central Middlesex, and St. Mark’s Hospital collectively amounts to £55,457,489.

A spokesperson for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust answered our questions regarding the repair issues.

Q: How has this high-risk repair bill accumulated?

A: “Northwick Park Hospital is now more than fifty years old, while Ealing Hospital is approaching fifty. Despite ongoing regular maintenance work, the ageing infrastructure on both sites presents a significant challenge. In addition, modern healthcare requires additional space, higher intensity of use, and a greater level of engineering systems, requiring considerably more maintenance than would have been the case when the sites were built.

“We have already invested significantly to fix a number of these issues, including building a new energy centre at Northwick Park to move away from steam, improving our electricity generators for our secondary electricity supply, and replacing or upgrading a range of other systems such as fire alarms, water systems and medical gas supply mechanisms. However, other complex systems, such as ventilation and lifts, continue to need substantial work.”

New figures reveal 'significant challenge' of ageing infrastructure at Northwick Park Hospital Harrow Online
Northwick Park Hospital.

Q: Have you asked for help with these repairs? If so, from whom (eg government) and what was the response?

A: “We bid for funding support from various sources, including from capital funding from NHS England. Modernising and investing in new facilities remains one of the most effective ways to reduce this kind of backlog, and therefore this year we have already made some substantial improvements to critical aspects of our estate, including important refurbishment work to our maternity unit and birthing centre, and other crucial site developments including the development of the community diagnostic centre at Ealing and the acute medical unit at Northwick Park.”

Q: Should patients be concerned to see these figures? What would you say to them?

A: “Our patients can be confident that we monitor any issues associated with our sites very closely, and that we anticipate and swiftly deal with any issue that could have an immediate impact on our ability to provide care. This includes rigorous risk management, governance and health and safety processes and reporting, which ultimately are overseen by our board of directors.”

Q: Has the discovery of RAAC concrete played a role in the size of this repair bill at your trust?

A: “No.”

Q: What solutions can you put in place before and in order for these high-risk repairs can be carried out? How soon can those repairs be carried out and what would the impact be on patients for those repairs to be carried out eg necessary part-closure of the hospital site? What impact would that have on patients?

A: “We have a long-term plan to address these repairs, but as with any older hospital site, maintenance is an ongoing activity that requires constant monitoring and updating. We work closely with our partner trusts in north west London to minimise any impact on our patients and communities and will always seek to minimise disruption to our services.

“This means completing work in a phased and coordinated way that allows healthcare to continue. Wherever possible, we align repairs with other important improvements to our sites, as we are currently doing with the community diagnostic centre at Ealing and hope to do by developing a new critical care unit at Northwick Park.”

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