Quality & Patient Safety

Ignored hospital repairs in UK place patients’ safety at risk

Patient Safety Monitor: Global Edition, January 6, 2009

Little has been done to help the crumbling buildings and failing infrastructure of the United Kingdom's hospitals, which have repeatedly endangered patients, according to the . The Telegraph. The National Health Services (NHS) described this matter as urgent, calling for action "in order to prevent catastrophic failure," reports the paper.

Eight years ago, when the NHS maintenance bill stood at £3.1 billion, the government pledged to reduce the cost by 25%. However, the new figures show that the bill has not been reduced and has actually grown to £4 billion, including a 29% increase in the last two years, reports the Telegraph.

Last year, an investigation of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital Trust found that its high-maintenance backlog contributed to an outbreak of Clostridium difficile, which killed 90 patients.

"Over the last eight years, the government has done nothing to address this problem and things are going from bad to worse," said shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley in the Telegraph.

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