WORCESTERSHIRE Acute Hospitals NHS Trust needs to spend more than £20 million to bring its buildings up to scratch, figures reveal.

NHS Providers warned that the speed at which the NHS estate is falling into disrepair is putting patients’ lives at greater risk and making it more difficult for frontline staff to provide the right quality of care.

Figures from NHS Digital show that at the end of March last year, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust needed £23.6 million worth of work to eliminate the backlog of maintenance required at its sites.

According to the data, none of that money was needed to eradicate high-risk issues to avoid serious injuries to patients, major disruption to services or “catastrophic failure”, however the data does not specify where the work was required.

A further £6.8 million should have been spent on items posing a significant risk to safety or delivery of services.

High and significant backlog maintenance usually relates to essential activity, such as replacing a backup generator.

Around £16.8 million was required for medium and low grade maintenance, which typically relates to improving the patient environment and can include the refurbishment and repainting of a building.

In December, the government announced a £600 million scheme to help trusts eradicate the backlog – with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust awarded £3 million towards seven projects.

Across England, £9 billion should have been spent on eradicating the backlog of maintenance work required across all NHS trusts.

Of that, more than £1.5 billion was due for the most urgent repairs.

Overall, it cost £9.7 billion to run the entire NHS estate in the last financial year, the figures show.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “The backlog is now broadly equivalent to the annual cost of running the entire NHS estate.

“More worrying still, over half of this is for work of high or significant risk.

“In short, this problem poses an increasing threat to safety.”

Mr Hopson said it is also impacting on the response to the pandemic, with a “dramatic” rise in demand for oxygen in recent months placing a strain on supply.