The impact of COVID on healthcare construction projects

The impact of COVID on healthcare construction projects

The pandemic is causing disruption to a wide range of industries and the healthcare construction sector is no different. The immediate needs of patient care for those infected with the virus have been at the forefront of many political debates.

The NHS has been radically mobilised to respond to the crisis, most noticeably during the peak of the epidemic, as many Intensive Care Units (ICU) where stretched to capacity. During this same period, works for non-COVID related projects were scaled back as efforts were focused on planning and dealing with further waves of infections.

Healthcare construction projects were treated as secondary whilst hospitals dealt with the immediate demands of the crisis. This has resulted in capital investment being repurposed to fund essential care and treatment for patients infected with COVID-19.

Whilst the value of projects undertaken in the healthcare sector dramatically increased during the pandemic, most investments were allocated to hospitals. According to Glenigan’s Construction Review, other areas in the sector experienced sharp declines including nursing homes, day centres and social care estates.

Nonetheless, Glenigan believes the outlook for the sector remains positive. Promises of increased NHS capital funding is expected to lift project starts over the next two years.

So what are these capital investment projects?

Last year the Government announced plans to invest £3.7bn to build 40 hospital by 2030, with a further 8 schemes invited to bid.  An additional £1.5bn in capital funds for the NHS was also announced, with £450 million allocated for 142 A&E upgrades.

However recent news reports have revealed the plans to build 40 new hospitals is not entirely accurate.  The bulk of the project involves rebuilding or consolidating existing hospitals.  Details set out by the Health Department lists the 40 projects due to complete by 2030.  According to NHS Providers, the real cost of building 40 new hospitals would be more like £20bn.

Nonetheless, these investments will provide a valuable boost to improving our infrastructure.

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