Boris Johnson’s promise of 40 ‘new hospitals’ plan will actually only deliver six unless the Tories win the next two elections.
And it includes renovations of existing hospitals.
The plans were announced last night by the PM, who claimed it was the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation.”
But it will only deliver six new buildings or refurbs over the next five years.
They’ll only promise the full 40 if they win not only the next election, but the one after that.
It comes as Mr Johnson heads into a potentially chaotic party conference, with the Commons still sitting in Westminster and scandals unravelling left and right.
And it came just weeks after the PM had been personally confronted in a London hospital by an angry father concerned about delays to treatment for his week old daughter.
The Tories also announced plans to recruit a further 1,000 extra mental health specialist nurses.
The £70 million plan will pay for 12 pilot areas to revamp their local mental health services.
Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries said: “Today’s announcement will pave the way for a huge step-change in how the health service supports those with mental healthissues in their communities.
“We know there are many causes behind mental illness – including significant life changes, problems at work or addiction – so it is only right that the NHS brings services together to serve patients in their communities.”
The 12 pilot areas are Cambridge and Peterborough, Hertfordshire and West Essex, North West London, North East London, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Lincolnshire, Humber Coast and Vale, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, Cheshire and Merseyside, Frimley, Surrey Heartlands and Somerset.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the PM said spending on the NHS was “absolutely central” to his vision of a “united society and a united country”.
Under the building plans drawn up by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, he said they would be spending £13 billion on what officials described as “new” hospitals – either with entirely new buildings or gutting existing structures to create state-of-the-art facilities.
Taken alongside the extra £33.9 billion the Government has committed to the NHS each year by 2023, he said it was “the largest sum that has ever been invested in the NHS”.
He said: “We’re launching the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. You will have seen that on the steps of Downing Street I announced 20 new hospital upgrades.
“We’re now following that up with 40 new hospitals we’re going to be doing across the country. It’s the biggest programme of hospital building in a generation.”
Announcing his hospitals plan, Mr Johnson said it would begin with a £2.7 billion cash injection for six hospitals over the next five years.
The remaining projects, including up to a dozen smaller rural hospitals, would be completed over the second half of the next decade.
Ministers are also providing £100 million in “seed funding” to help 21 trusts develop plans to rebuild or construct 34 hospitals, including up to a dozen community hospitals in Dorset.