Five years after announcing a multi-million pound investment for a hospital, a former health secretary said he feels “frustrated” that the rebuild has not yet been completed.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham joined Harrow East Labour candidate Uma Kumaran on a visit to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Brockley Hill, Stanmore, yesterday.

The Labour politicians were given a tour of the hospital where they spoke to patients at the specialist spinal injuries unit.

The visit came exactly five years after Mr Burnham announced £81 million would be invested in rebuilding the specialist hospital, bringing to an end a 46-year battle to keep the facility open.

However, the Stanmore hospital has still not been rebuilt, and the outline business case for the next major phase of rebuilding work has just been approved.

Mr Burnham said: “I feel frustrated because the hospital had made a compelling case to me. Back then I visited a couple of times as a minister and I had worked on that plan in detail, had Treasury sign off.

“The feeling I have is why are the fantastic staff here – and they are fantastic, they’re world leading – why are they still working out in these buildings when we had found a way to pay for it?

“They should have had better than that, the money was signed off and it should have been done.”

It is believed the hospital is still one year away from putting spades to the ground as part of the rebuild programme.

He added: “This is a national centre of excellence – on what basis would we not have wanted this to have the best facilities?

“It is frustrating but I wanted to come back under the obligation I feel to the trust to make sure that in the end they don’t wait any longer, that the new facilities are a reality before too long.”

Ms Kumaran said: “RNOH is under immense pressure. Patients are being cared for in accommodation that is almost a century old and was originally intended as temporary shelter during the First World War.

“Meeting with senior staff to discuss the problems facing the hospital, I am determined to fight to defend this internationally recognised service we have here in Harrow.

“The hospital has finally been approved for the first wave of funding to begin to update the site but we need a long term strategy to ensure Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital can continue to do the incredible work it does." 

During the visit, the members also spoke about waiting times at Northwick Park Hospital A&E department, which has been criticised as one of the worst in the country.