Labour’s £3.3m hospitals repair claim isn’t true, trust says

Worthing Hospital, run by Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, which spent �7m on repairs there and at St Richard's and Southlands hospitals only last year
Worthing Hospital, run by Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, which spent �7m on repairs there and at St Richard's and Southlands hospitals only last year

The claim that the hospital trust faces a £3.3m bill to repair its roofs and fix damage caused by fire isn’t accurate, Western Sussex insists.

The Labour Party published figures saying hospitals in England need £17.4m of repairs, putting staff and patients at risk.

The report specifically picked out Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, which runs St Richard’s (Chichester), Worthing and Southlands (Shoreham) hospitals, as having bills of £1,462,320 for roof repairs and £1,900 for fire damage.

However, a Western Sussex spokesman said this was based on outdated information, with more than £7m spent across its hospitals only last year to bring them up to standard, and a further £5m planned.

The trio of hospitals need minor roof repairs costing £50,000 which are scheduled this financial year, the spokesman said, adding that there were ‘no further planned works or known issues with its roofs’.

This year’s capital project plan also allocates £50,000 for fire compartment work, including the regular replacement of fire doors.

David Jones, director of estates and facilities at Western Sussex, said: “We work hard to maintain our buildings and provide the best equipment, environment and facilities we can for our patients and carry out regular audits and inspections to identify our most urgent repairs.

“This is currently less than 3 per cent of our overall maintenance schedule and we make sure we prioritise these first.

“In the past year, we have invested more than £7m across our estate – including the updating of water, fire and electrical systems – to ensure we continue to provide a safe, clean and modern environment for our patients and staff.

“We will also be investing a further £5m between now and April 2019.”

The Labour figures were produced from Freedom of Information results from 42 hospital trusts, claiming 71 per cent had leaking or broken roofs between 2015 and 17, claiming it is a result of ‘years of Tory NHS cuts’.