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Boris Johnson promised to build 40 new hospitals – that's the number actually opened

Boris Johnson promised to build 40 new hospitals – that's the number actually opened
Boris Johnson promised to build 40 new hospitals – that's the number actually opened


Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson visits the Northern Center for Cancer Care, opening in 2021 (Image: Getty Images)

In 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030 as part of a 3.7 billion programme. It was promised that it would be the largest hospital building program in a generation.

Still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Johnson pledged to build back better and ensure more people have access to world-class healthcare.

But what have we really achieved since the project was announced?

Under the New Hospitals Program (NHP), a new hospital can be defined as follows:

  • A brand new hospital, on a new or current site
  • A new building or major new clinical wing, an existing site
  • A major renovation and modification, existing site.

And since the commitment was made, some changes have been introduced, including eight new projects added and seven hospitals requiring urgent replacement due to the use of RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete), which has pushed more other projects further down the line.

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Boris Johnson heads to Cumbria for 'Leveling Up' tour

Boris Johnson visits the Northern Center for Cancer Care, one of seven open projects (Image: Getty)

Based on the initial list of 40 hospitals, contacted each hospital trust to determine where each project currently stands, just under four years later.

It appears from this that not all 40 projects will be completed within the initial deadline. However, the majority of them are on track to be completed on time, and some are already completed and operational.

According to responses collected by, seven of the initial 40 hospital projects are already open to the public, in whole or in part.

This includes the Northern Center for Cancer Care in north Cumbria, which opened in 2021, and the Greater Manchester Major Trauma Hospital, which opened last month.

Of the initial 40 projects, 30 are still expected to be completed by 2030.

However, some are delayed until after 2030, including those that were pushed back after locations with RAAC became prioritized.

Male construction worker on site

Some projects were postponed after sites with dangerous RAACs were prioritized (Image: Getty)

Based on responses from hospital trusts, has learned that six of the projects will not be completed on time.

Regarding the remaining four projects, it was unclear whether they would be ready in time, with some hospital trusts saying they could not commit to a specific timetable.

Projects that will not be completed on time include London's Whipps Cross University Hospital and a new hospital in Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

In 2023, the National Audit Office (NAO) carried out a thorough audit of the program, to see if it would be delivered on time.

He noted that in 2020 there were no key decisions regarding NSP funding and construction approach.

Not surprisingly, when the government finally made decisions, it required major changes to the scope of NHPs, the audit found.

He concluded: according to the definition used by the government in 2020, it will not now deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030.


The National Audit Office said in a report that all 40 hospital projects would not be completed by 2030. (Image: Getty)

The audit also criticized the financial situation of the project.

As of March 2023, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had spent around €1.1 billion on NHPs and the programs it oversees, according to the audit.

We can read this: Until now, the government has failed to optimize its PSN resources.

When asked to comment on the progress and cost of the new hospital program so far, DHSC declined.

However, they told The new hospital program will continue its operational implementation and work with NHS trusts on the design and construction of new hospitals in line with general election guidance issued to the civil service and the NHS.

But the Conservative Party said it would achieve the initial targets.

The Conservatives plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, a party spokesperson said.

Six new hospitals are already open to patients, two more will open soon and 18 are currently under construction.

In addition, to reduce waiting lists, we have opened 160 community diagnostic centers that offer millions of additional scans, checks and tests, and we are committed to building 50 more.

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer's pledge not to create new hospitals would pause and delay every single one, putting their future at risk and denying better patient care.

Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have a clear plan and will take the bold steps needed to provide patients with the best possible NHS care for decades to come. Keir Starmer and the Labor Party would put this at risk, taking the country back to square one.

In response, a Labor spokesperson said: “Labour’s manifesto commits to delivering the new hospital program.

“It is the Conservatives who have failed to build hospitals in the last five years, and who will fail to build them in the next five years if they win the election. Just as they have failed to successfully reduced waiting lists and failed to end NHS strikes.

“Only Labor has a plan to deliver the change our NHS needs.”

Hospital projects already open

  • Northern Center for Cancer Care in North Cumbria – opening August 2021
  • Royal Liverpool Hospital – January 2023
  • Royal Sussex County Hospital Regional Teaching, Trauma and Tertiary Care Center in Brighton – part opened in June 2023
  • Northgate Hospital Sycamore Unit – October 2023
  • Greater Manchester Major Trauma Hospital – May 2024
  • New facilities at Leicester University Hospitals – part of which opens in 2023
  • The Dyson Cancer Center at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath – April 2024.

Projects on track for 2030

  • Midland Metropolitan Hospital
  • Moorfields Eye Hospital, London
  • National Defense and Rehabilitation Centre, Midlands
  • Watford General Hospital
  • Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals
  • Leeds General Infirmary
  • Suffolk West Hospital
  • Milton Keynes Hospital
  • Hillingdon Hospital, North West London
  • St Ann's Hospital, Dorset
  • North Manchester General Hospital
  • Dorchester Community Hospital, Dorset
  • Poole Community Hospital, Dorset
  • North Devon District Hospital
  • James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth
  • Kettering General Hospital, Midlands
  • Bournemouth Community Hospital, Dorset
  • Torbay District General, Torquay
  • Addenbrookes Cancer Hospital, Cambridge
  • Cornwall Children's Hospital
  • Derriford Urgent Care Hospital, Plymouth
  • Christchurch Community Hospital, Dorset
  • Shotley Bridge Hospital, Durham.

Projects that will not open by 2030

  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow
  • Whipps Cross University Hospital, North East London
  • Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
  • New hospital at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and major refurbishment at Winchester Royal Hampshire Hospital
  • Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham City Hospital
  • Royal Preston and Lancaster Royal Infirmary.

Projects with unclear deadlines

New hospital in Eastbourne, new medical services and refurbishment in Conquest, new clinic building in Bexhill, East Sussex

Online it states: The vast majority of the redevelopment would be completed by 2030. However, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust did not provide a date to and commented: We Let’s continue working with the new hospital program. team on the development of our project and associated enabling works.

Reconstruction of Musgrove Park Hospital, Somerset

Work is currently underway at this site whose roof was built in January this year, but a spokesperson for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust said: We are working closely with the new hospital program on our project to confirm the plans, financing arrangements and deadlines.

St Marys Hospital, London

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told it was awaiting the outcome of a business case submitted to the NHP in January 2024 to secure funding to begin detailed design and planning for the redevelopment of St Marys.

Reconstruction of Hammersmith Hospital, new clinical academic redevelopment near ICL White City campus, floor by floor refurbishment of Charing Cross, London

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said it was continuing to develop first-stage business cases, which will be submitted this year.




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