NHS estate 'scuppering' plans for COVID recovery

Survey reveals healthcare workers fear a lack of space and ageing buildings are threatening care and the ability to deal with the Coronavirus backlog

The survey quizzed more than 1,000 healthcare professionals
The survey quizzed more than 1,000 healthcare professionals

Healthcare staff have revealed that the state of NHS buildings is threatening to derail attempts to address the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A YouGov survey commissioned by community care premises specialist, Assura, reveals that 40% of healthcare professionals say the buildings they work in are constraining the services they can offer to patients.

And 34% say the premises they work in are threatening progress to tackle the current backlog of patients that has built up as a result of the pandemic.

In addition, a whopping 84% of respondents said more fit-for-purpose buildings were needed, particularly in primary care settings.

The survey quizzed more than 1,000 healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, midwives, ambulance workers, public health staff and people in NHS facilities and maintenance roles.

We’re already putting their ideas into bricks and mortar on the ground, but the clear message this year is that this can’t happen fast enough

And the findings come as the BMA’s Support Your Surgery campaign calls for more investment into areas such as GP premises across the country, and after new research published in the British Journal of General Practice highlighted the impact of GP recruitment challenges in areas of highest healthcare need.  

Assura chief executive, Jonathan Murphy, said of the findings: “In our survey last year, healthcare workers told us how their premises had often made the never-before-seen challenge of COVID even more difficult to deal with, and what they thought community healthcare premises of the future will need to deliver to help the NHS do its job.

“We’re already putting their ideas into bricks and mortar on the ground, but the clear message this year is that this can’t happen fast enough.

“Health professionals want to see investment in physical infrastructure now to support both the recovery and evolution of primary care as it seeks to work at scale, to play its full part in emerging Integrated Care Systems and – most importantly - to make sure patients are getting the care they need, when they need it, where they need it.”

Among the issues raised by those questioned were a lack of rooms, inadequate space to enable social distancing, no additional space to increase workload to address the pandemic, dated premises, a lack of single rooms, and no time to carry out infection prevention measures between patients.


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