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Health board reveals £100 million maintenance backlog

04 Jan 2023 4 minute read
Photo Swansea Bay University Health Board

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

A health board which has been criticised for not revealing how much its maintenance backlog was has now come up with an estimate of £100 million.

Swansea Bay University Health Board was one of two health boards in Wales which didn’t provide the details of backlog costs to the Welsh Conservatives.

The country’s other five health boards had a combined maintenance backlog of £748.5 million at the end of the 2021-22 financial year – up from £307.2 million in 2017-18 – according to responses given to the Tories’ freedom of information request.

The £748.5 million figure was described as “staggering” by the party’s Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS.

He claimed it showed “a total lack of leadership” from Welsh Labour ministers.

“Without addressing this, there is a risk of patients having treatments and operations cancelled, and by delaying work and allowing the maintenance list to spiral like this, the risk has increased,” he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said health boards were responsible for maintaining their buildings so people could receive safe and sustainable services.

He added: “Our capital budgets are not being increased by the UK Government, however we have committed more than £335 million towards important NHS capital projects this financial year and a further £375 million next year to support NHS organisations maintain and transform the estate.”

South Wales Wales MS Altaf Hussain, who used to be a hospital consultant, said he was concerned about the lack of an answer from Swansea Bay University Health Board to the freedom of information request, despite what he said were several reminders.

“People have a right to know just how much money will be needed to put these key buildings right within the Swansea Bay area,” said the Welsh Conservative MS.

Steep rise

Dr Hussain also said he was worried about a steep rise in backlog costs for Cwm Taf University Health Board after it acquired the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, from Swansea Bay University Health Board’s predecessor, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. Swansea Bay University Health Board was created when the larger Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board ceased.

“This could indicate a long-standing problem in the way in which the board looked after its property,” he said.

Dr Hussain said he will take up the matter with Swansea Bay University Health Board’s chief executive, Mark Hackett.

In response, Swansea Bay University Health Board apologised for the delay in responding to the freedom of information request and added that the details would be provided imminently. It said its current maintenance backlog was estimated at £100 million.

“All NHS organisations are facing similar challenges in terms of a backlog of building maintenance,” it said in a statement.

“In many cases the buildings are old and require considerable upkeep to meet required standards and simply to remain functional. This places significant pressure on the capital allocations, which have to cover maintenance, development and innovation.”

It said the health board’s discretionary capital allocation for the current year was £8.5 million.

The statement added: “We would like to make it clear that the former Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board did not treat Princess of Wales Hospital any differently to the rest of its estate.

“It should be noted that when the transfer took place in 2019, Swansea Bay’s discretionary capital allocation was reduced and Cwm Taf Morgannwg’s increased.”

Maintenance backlog 2017-18:
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board £58.4 million
Powys Teaching Health Board – £73 million
Hywel Dda University Health Board – £59 million
Cwm Taf University Health Board – £15.9 million
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – £100.8 million
Swansea Bay University Health Board – did not respond
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – did not hold information requested

Maintenance backlog 2021-22:
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board £239.9 million
Powys Teaching Health Board – £67.9 million
Hywel Dda University Health Board – £105.7 million
Cwm Taf University Health Board – £87 million
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – £247.8 million
Swansea Bay University Health Board – did not respond
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – did not hold information requested

Figures above were provided by the Welsh Conservatives.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
29 days ago

How many times do we have to hear this? No criticism of the Welsh government by the Tory cash starvation and asset stripping party will carry any validity nor credibility until Cymru has been totally free and independent of Westminster lockdown control for a number of years so that’s a long time they need to button it.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
29 days ago

Swansea Bay may need £100M for all their repairs but Charing Cross hospital alone needs £155M for “high risk” repairs to prevent the roof falling on patients like 30 other English hospitals. So far the Tories have allocated £1.4Bn for £10.2 Bn of repairs in England some £5.3Bn of which are safety critical, high risk repair needs.

Making a political point only works if one’s own party is not the root cause of the problem.

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