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Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk Hospitals have £59m critical maintenance backlog

PUBLISHED: 17:20 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:20 08 October 2018

Ipswich Hospital is among those to be part of the £59m maintenance backlog Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Hospital is among those to be part of the £59m maintenance backlog Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Three of the region’s hospitals have insisted their buildings are safe, despite data revealing a £59million backlog of “critical maintenance”.

West Suffolk Hospital has some areas needing critical maintenance Picture: GREGG BROWNWest Suffolk Hospital has some areas needing critical maintenance Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trusts run West Suffolk, Ipswich, and Colchester hospitals.

They have a combined backlog of critical maintenance totalling £59m, according to data prepared for this week’s Suffolk County Council health scrutiny meeting.

The NHS Estates document says critical maintenance is that which falls below required physical condition, or fails to comply with mandatory fire safety requirements or statutory safety standards.

But despite the backlog, which is valued at more than two thirds of the £79.4m annual running costs for the three trusts, health chiefs said all buildings were safe.

A spokesman for the two trusts said: “We ensure all parts of our estate comply with statutory legislation at all times. As such, all of our buildings where services are provided are safe.

“Periodically we need to replace aspects of the estate because of wear and tear or where services need to be provided in a different way.

“The £59m includes pay for upkeep of the estate which includes any future maintenance costs for our buildings.”

A five year plan aims to cut backlog maintenance costs by more than half to £27m by 2023, with up to £20m income being eyed from the potential sale of buildings the trusts plan to dispose of.

The spokesman said changes in healthcare treatment meant people increasingly didn’t need to visit a hospital for care, and meant some buildings could be used for other purposes or sold.

The spokesman added: “We have plans to reduce the amount of backlog maintenance over the next five years across Suffolk and North East Essex.

“For instance, at Ipswich Hospital it is proposed that we may move some clinical services from the north end of the site to another part of the hospital and demolish the old buildings that currently accommodates these services.

“At Colchester, we are moving services away from Essex County Hospital and handing that site to Essex Homes and will receive capital from that. This will also reduce backlog maintenance.”

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