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Knowledge Hub

Cuts have left the NHS too poor to buy equipment

Has the squeezed NHS budget left hospitals with outdated equipment?


Hospitals do not have enough money to buy and maintain vital medical equipment, say academics.


Research suggests that cuts to the NHS capital budget mean that hospitals cannot afford to buy modern scanners and surgical equipment.


The study, reported in the Guardian, was conducted by the health services management centre (HSMC) at Birmingham University and the Health Foundation think-tank. Anita Charlesworth, director of economic research at the Health Foundation and honorary professor at the HSMC, told the Guardian that spending on medical equipment has halved in the past four years.


Meanwhile, the Health Foundation has also analysed emergency admissions, which have increased by 42% over the past 12 years, and looked at ways of reducing them. Its report says that patients nowadays have more complex needs, and hospitals are encouraging patients to return home sooner. Social care cuts have had an impact, too. The analysts call for better understanding of how to reduce emergency admissions.


The Royal College of Anaesthetists commented on the research, saying that its own findings suggest patients arrive in hospital requiring treatment but not in a good state to receive it.


Further information

Guardian: Hospitals struggling to afford new equipment after NHS budget cuts

Health Foundation: Emergency hospital admissions in England: which may be avoidable and how?

Royal College of Anaesthetists: RCoA response to Health Foundation report