Hillingdon Hospital is the local hospital for Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency: but there is no sign of any special treatment or extra resources as a result.

Hillingdon is one of many trusts facing large and escalating backlog costs for maintenance, but is not one of the six trusts singled out for new or rebuilt hospitals. Instead it is one of the 21 trusts included in the ‘fake forty’ announcement of ‘new hospitals’ while only receiving a share of a minimal £100m in “seed funding” to develop a business plan.

This means Hillingdon will get no significant additional investment to address the crumbling buildings until at least 2025. Yet the most recent Annual report emphasises the scale of the bill for repairs and new equipment – which was estimated at £191.6m in 2017 (although the official NHS tally of backlog maintenance was much smaller at £109m in 2017-18 and only slightly lower for 2018/19 at £107m), and how pressing the backlog pressures are:

The Hillingdon Trust’s 2018-19 Annual Report admits that:

“The estate has suffered from underinvestment over an extended period and many building fabric and services are failing or are beyond economical repair and their design life cycle. A recent survey highlighted that 81% of the Hillingdon estate and 51% of the Mount Vernon estate has a condition that is ‘operational but major repair or replacement will be required soon’ or worse.

“… The survey also revealed the immediate need to invest significant capital over the next four years to prevent the condition of the estate deteriorating further therefore compounding the overall backlog cost.

“The Trust recognises the condition of the estate has a direct impact on the ability to provide a safe environment for patients and the importance of a clean, safe environment for all aspects of healthcare should not be underestimated. Unfortunately the condition and age of the estate makes it difficult to meet modern standards and this has the potential to cause infection control issues if not addressed appropriately.”

The infamous promise by Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The Trust also has a recurrent underlying financial deficit and reported a final deficit in 2018-19 of £25.9m: but this was after receiving £24.5m of “central cash support” to prop up the budget, which is expected to continue this year, and adds to an accumulation of loans adding up to almost £60m.

The pressures on the trust have also meant a growing number of delays in elective treatment, with only 51.7% of allergy patients and 55.8% of pain management patients being treated within 18 weeks, well below the 92% target. There are also delays in Paediatric Dermatology, Rheumatology, Gastroenterology and Trauma and Orthopaedics all of which on less than 72%.

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