Featured in Facilitate Magazine, Marc Watkins, Business Development Director at SWG, outlines how technology can play a key role in reducing the NHS backlog and ensuring buildings are compliant with the latest regulations.
The NHS estates maintenance backlog has soared to new heights and outdated buildings are causing more than 100 care disruptions every week in the UK.
The latest ERIC figures found that the cost of running an NHS estate was up by 12% in 2023, and the backlog of maintenance work is growing longer. The current cost to eradicate this backlog is £11.6 billion, an increase of 13.6% since 2021/22. This figure reflects how many estates are in need of restoration to meet the required standards.
In addition, the majority of the backlog repairs are labelled as significant risk or high-risk issues.
The safety of staff and patients should always be the top priority for the NHS and unfit buildings can jeopardise this. The extent of the issue was laid bare with the news that infrastructure problems are causing more than 100 care disruptions every week in the NHS.
It’s clear that this is a major issue that needs to be urgently addressed. The RAAC crisis affecting many hospitals and increasingly adverse weather conditions are only going to exacerbate the issue unless action is taken.
Technology has a key role in reducing the backlog and ensuring buildings are fit for purpose. By using a CAFM system with SFG20 integration, estate managers can keep their estates compliant with the most recent Health Technical Memoranda and planned maintenance schedules can be automatically updated to align with up-to-date compliance regulations.
A CAFM system also enables better data sharing across teams to streamline processes such as patient space monitoring. NHS estates that operate in the same counties can share bed numbers to ensure patients are taken to a facility that can offer an available space as well as the right care to meet their needs.
The information and data gathered from different estates can also serve to advise the NHS body on best practices and acceptable standards across the organisation. This will help each estate to share and learn best practice and help get the NHS back on track.