Labour Makes Charing Cross Hospital Pledge

Says it will be upgraded but doesn't give a date for completion

Charing Cross Hospital
Charing Cross Hospital

June 5, 2024

Labour has promised to completely upgrade Charing Cross Hospital if they win the General Election but won’t say when it will happen. The party confirmed this Tuesday (4 June) plans to rebuild four London hospitals including St. Mary’s Paddington, Hillingdon Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital but refused to say when construction would start or end.

A Labour source said, “The government are behind schedule on the building programme – until we get into Government and understand the extent of this we cannot provide the below detail. The Labour Party is committed to rebuilding the 40 hospitals.”

The Tories said they’re on track to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030 through the New Hospital Programme and have committed £20 billion in investment in hospital infrastructure. It said six hospitals are now open to patients while two more are expected to open by the end of the financial year and 18 more are in construction.

The government programme has been hit with delays. Last year, then-Health Secretary Steve Barclay announced a handful of hospitals such as Charing Cross would not be refurbished by the end of the decade.

Labour said the scheme has now been pushed back to 2035. Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said, “Rishi Sunak failed to keep his promises to cut waiting lists or build a single new hospital.

“Given another five years in charge, he’ll fail again and waiting lists will hit 10 million. Only Labour has a plan to deliver the change our NHS needs.”

Labour has also pledged to cut waiting lists by providing 40,000 extra appointments a week at evenings and weekends and to pay for it by clamping down on tax dodgers and closing non-dom loopholes.

Ben Coleman, Labour’s parliamentary Chelsea and Fulham, said rebuilding Charing Cross Hospital was ‘long overdue’. He added, “Labour’s commitment to prioritise Charing Cross Hospital is good news that will be welcomed by doctors, nurses, patients and their families.”

The Conservatives said they will build 100 new GP surgeries and modernise 150 more while expanding GP training places by 2031. They have also accused Labour of wanting to pause all NHS capital spending projects.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said, “Keir Starmer’s No New Hospitals programme would pause all NHS capital projects, putting the future of all 40 new hospitals at risk.

“We remain committed to our New Hospitals Programme, and six new hospitals are already open, two more will be open this year, and 18 are in construction, and we will build all 40 new hospitals by 2030.

“[We are] also opening 160 community diagnostic centres a year ahead of the original target and will deliver 50 sites, alongside building and modernising 250 GP surgeries. The choice could not be clearer: stick with the Conservatives for a brighter future or risk going back to square one with Labour.”

It comes as a war of words broke out over the future redevelopment of Charing Cross Hospital. Labour has accused Greg Hands, the local MP, of ‘fabricating’ claims he secured funding for a ‘floor-by-floor’ refurb.

But a letter seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) from Professor Tim Orchard, Chief Executive of Imperial College Trust, showed it had only received £2.9 million of the more than £151 million requested for ‘enabling works’ across all three sites the trust manages.

Charing Cross Hospital was set to be fully refurbished by 2030 under the New Hospital Programme but was among a handful delayed by Mr Barclay last year to make way for more urgent works.

According to the letter sent to Mr Coleman by Professor Orchard, in addition to the Trust’s annual capital budget, it had received a total of £59.8 million for improvements across all of its sites between 2020/21 and 2023/24. A refurbishment and expansion of the endoscopy suite at Charing Cross Hospital was among the beneficiaries.

The Trust has also received £13 million to support its three redevelopment schemes as part of the NHP. Mr Hands did not respond directly to requests to clarify his assertion that funding for a ‘floor-by-floor’ refurbishment has been secured.

He however said Labour’s plans to assess all capital programmes if they are elected on July 4, included in the party’s mission document ‘Build an NHS Fit for the Future’, would put the whole redevelopment ‘at risk’. Mr Hands said: “This means a pause and possible stop to everything that is currently in progress.”

A Labour source described Mr Hands’ claim as ‘utter tosh’, saying, “You can’t pause a project which has no funding and no timetable.”

According to data compiled by the BBC earlier this year, Imperial College Healthcare Trust had the largest high-risk repair backlog in England. This sat at £393 million for 2022/23, about 20 per cent of the national total, with £25 million spent annually on the highest-risk issues.


Adrain Zorzut – Local Democracy Reporter