New build facilities could reduce NHS mortality rates

Encouraging private investment in healthcare real estate could help the NHS see a dramatic improvement in patient outcomes, preventing almost 3,000 deaths and 3,800 falls per year, according to a new report.

‘Quality Buildings, Quality Care’, launched today by the British Property Federation (BPF) and researched by Bolt Partners, shows that if Government encourages private investment into healthcare real estate it could help the NHS make significant savings, lower mortality rates, and lead to a reduction in patient harms and falls.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Acute Trusts (group of hospitals) with newly-built facilities are more likely to have low mortality rates, with three out of the 19 (16%) Trusts in the UK that are new-builds incurring “significantly below average” deaths, compared to 13 out of 118 Trusts (11%) with older buildings.
  • There were 121 fewer observed deaths than expected across the 19 Trusts with new building in one year, a 1% reduction in mortality rate. Applied across all NHS Acute Trusts, this 1% reduction in mortality rate would see a reduction in deaths of 2,900 deaths per annum.
  • Modern facilities are safer for patients with 30% lower fall rates and 10% lower overall patient harm in new hospitals and similar reductions in new care homes.
  • Applying the fall rate of new-build Trusts to 209 Trusts with older buildings, there would have been 3,800 fewer falls in one year.
  • Acute Trusts with newly-built premises had a higher percentage of staff satisfied with the quality of work and patient care they are able to deliver.
  • Services provided from all types of new healthcare premises have been three to four times more likely to be rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission than services provided from older premises.

The BPF is calling for the Government and NHS bodies to recognise the opportunities presented by working more closely and flexibly with the development sector in delivering healthcare real estate. Unlocking the £6bn investment that the BPF estimates is ready to enter the sector will provide extensive patient and staff benefits.

The organisation would also like to see local authorities make greater provisions for healthcare facilities in their local plans, and to ensure that they are conveniently located to town centres, transport hubs, and existing medical infrastructure to facilitate integrated care.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “There is a clear correlation between new buildings and the quality of patient care that is provided within them. Healthcare real estate is a vital part of the UK’s infrastructure, and as we face an increasingly ageing population and the NHS becomes more strained, now more than ever we want to make clear to Government the role that the real estate industry can play in ensuring the future health of the NHS.”

Graham Roberts, chief executive of Assura Group and chair of the BPF’s Healthcare Committee, added: “The research is a timely reminder that investment in modern infrastructure in support of our health and social infrastructure makes more than just economic sense. It contributes significantly to improved outcomes for patients and for the elderly in particular. Over the next 25 years, the population aged over 75 is estimated to grow to almost 10 million people. We are a long way from being prepared for that additional demand and yet are already well behind in terms of adequate facilities to deal with the needs of today’s population.”