The NHS is being blamed for a “significant” backlog of machines for parts for machines that have been manufactured but have not yet been used.
Key points:The National Audit Office (NAO) says it has identified an urgent need to replace machines and machines have not been used since March.
The National Health Service (NHS) is also facing criticism for being slow to replace old machines after the Brexit vote.
The NAO report said: “The Government has an opportunity to address the problem of the NHS having to replace its ageing machines.”
The NAI has identified that between May and December 2017, the number of NHS machines that had been used in operation was 1,049,000.
The report found that this had been achieved with the “most significant” number of machines being manufactured, but that this was not necessarily due to the Government being able to use them.
It said: “There is no indication that the Government has taken action to ensure that machines are used and that they are used effectively.”
The report noted that the “number of machine orders placed in March 2017 fell by 40 per cent compared to the previous month and by 35 per cent over the same period in 2016”.It added: “[The Government] has been slow to address this issue and is failing to make progress.”
The government has faced criticism for the failure of the system to make replacement parts available.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the Government was “fully committed” to getting the machines replaced, but did not want to give a timeframe for that.
The spokesperson added: “Our priority is to make sure our hospitals and other healthcare providers can use our new machines and that we have enough machines to meet the demand.”
However, the NAO said:”The Government does not have sufficient capacity to maintain all of the new machines in service.”
A spokesperson from the Department for Health said: “We are fully committed to getting these machines replaced as quickly as possible.”
The spokesperson said that while it was working to ensure the replacement of existing machines was being achieved, the Department was committed to continuing to upgrade existing machines to make them better fit for use.
The spokesperson also said the Department has committed to “investing in equipment to improve the service, as part of our efforts to modernise and extend the NHS”.
The NAVIC report said the NHS has been in a “state of crisis” and had had to borrow money from the Treasury to replace equipment.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said the debt service has been growing, increasing by 3.2 per cent to £1.2 billion at the end of the financial year.
It said the problem was “serious” and was having an “extensive impact on services and on the quality of care”.
Obesity has become an increasingly pressing health issue in the NHS, with a third of NHS staff currently overweight or obese.