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'It Just Doesn't Add Up': Sally Nugent Clashes With Tory Minister Over NHS Funding

Sally Nugent queried the health secretary's figures.
Sally Nugent queried the health secretary's figures.

Sally Nugent queried the health secretary's figures.

Health secretary Victoria Atkins was told her numbers “don’t add up” as she clashed with the BBC’s Sally Nugent over NHS funding.

The pair went head-to-head on BBC Breakfast over how much money health trusts have been given by the government to improve hospital buildings.

Nugent said there were some places with “sewage leaks, roofs falling down, buildings crumbling, appointments being cancelled because sometimes the rooms themselves are not safe to be in”.

The minister said the government had invested £4.2 billion for trusts to spend on facilities in their areas.

But the presenter told her: “I just have to point out there’s a really big gap in the numbers there, though, isn’t there?

“The cost of making the NHS estate fit for purpose is actually £11.6 billion. It just doesn’t add up.”

Atkins replied: “Sorry, is there a question?”

Nugent replied: “You’re talking about one number and I’m talking about another one. I’m just interested in the gap.”

The minister said: “There are, believe you me, many numbers in the NHS. I could point to the £20bn that we’re spending on the new hospitals programme, I can point to the £1.7bn that we’re spending on upgrading existing hospitals in addition to the £4.2bn that is being given to local trusts to maintain their buildings.

“Of course we accept that in parts of the country those buildings are not as we would wish them to be, which is precisely why we have said to chief executives of trusts ’here is money, please invest it as you deem appropriate locally.”

Nugent hit back: “It’s not enough for them though, is it?”

It is not the first time this month that the pair have clashed over NHS funding.

Two weeks ago, Nugent skewered Atkins as she repeatedly refused to say whether the NHS dentist budget has been slashed over the last 10 years.

The minister dodged the question seven times during the excruciating grilling.

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