How offsite construction can help alleviate NHS pressure

James Withey, managing director of Algeco, a long-established brand in the European modular services and infrastructure industry, looks at how offsite construction and modular buildings for hire can play a leading role in improving the UK’s existing healthcare estate – where a number of buildings are now ageing and in less than ideal condition.

The NHS is facing record pressures, with waiting times and performance statistics continuing to paint a bleak picture. According to the latest figures, there are more than seven million people on a hospital waiting list in England, which equates to one in eight of the nation’s entire population. Delays and backlogs caused by the pandemic are undoubtedly a major factor, along with the continuing treatment of a substantial number of seasonal illnesses. 

It would be all too easy to point to COVID-19 as the root cause of the problems within the NHS. However, a closer look reveals a far more complex picture, with a range of issues contributing to the current situation. One of these is the lack of much-needed new facilities, and the poor condition of existing buildings. As anyone who follows developments in public health in the UK will know, insufficient staffing levels are one of the primary causes of higher waiting times, but lack of building space and outdated facilities are also contributing heavily to the bottlenecks within the NHS. Very simply, reducing waiting times requires both an increase in staffing levels, and improvements to the physical estate. No More Sticking Plasters: Repairing and Transforming the NHS Estate – a report from NHS Providers published in March this year, states that ‘Deteriorating NHS infrastructure and estates risk patient safety and quality of care’. The report goes on to add that, ‘the operational ask of the NHS cannot be delivered without adequate capital investment’.

Finding ways to deliver more with less

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