Conservative voters are just as likely as Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats to think the term ‘new’ means an entirely new hospital.
Just 6% of people agree with the Government’s definition of what counts as a “new” hospital, research suggests.
A YouGov poll of 2,036 people found that few agree with the Government that it can include an entirely new hospital, a new wing or a major refurbishment of an existing building.
Meanwhile, 92% said “a whole new hospital built from scratch on a site which previously did not contain a hospital” would match their definition of “new hospital”.
Last month, Health Secretary Steve Barclay told the Commons the Government remains committed to building 40 new hospitals in England by 2030 – a key Tory manifesto commitment.
Mr Barclay told MPs there has been a change to which hospitals are included in the programme owing to the need to urgently deal with some hospitals that are in danger of collapse due to them being built with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
He acknowledged that, as a result, work may not be completed by 2030 for up to eight of the original group.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said the announcement does not match its understanding and there is a need for a “full rebuild of St Mary’s Hospital” in London as well as major refurbishment and expansion at Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals.
In the new YouGov poll, shared exclusively with the PA news agency, people were asked to choose as many as they wanted from a list of what defines a “new hospital”.
Overall, 92% thought it meant a brand new hospital built from scratch, 14% thought that “adding a major new clinical building or new wing to an existing hospital, containing a whole clinical service such as maternity or children’s services” may constitute a new hospital, while 20% said the same of “a complete or major refurbishment of an existing hospital”.
Just 6% thought all three met the definition.
Conservative voters were just as likely as Labour and Liberal Democrat voters to say they thought a new hospital was defined as an entirely new hospital.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We are on track to deliver our commitment to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030, which is now expected to be backed by over £20 billion of investment in hospital infrastructure.
“We’ve always been clear each of the hospital building projects will deliver brand new, state-of-the-art facilities to provide world-class healthcare for NHS patients and staff by replacing outdated infrastructure.”