Hospitals across Sussex are struggling to clear a backlog of repairs of almost £50 million.

Patients are potentially being put at risk because of outstanding maintenance work to buildings.

Some repairs are classed as urgent as they have a high or significant risk of affecting patient care.

This includes leaking roofs, ageing electric cables, damaged vinyl floor coverings, replacement fire doors, fixing cracked skylights and replacing out of date ventilation units.

Moderate and low-risk repairs include fixing gutters, removing trailing cables, replacing double glazing, refurbishing showers and toilets and general redecoration.

A Freedom of Information request made by The Argus revealed Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath among others, has a backlog of around 17 million, with around £9.5 milliom classed as a high or significant risk.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Worthing Hospital, Southlands Hospital in Shoreham and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, has a backlog of around £17.6 million.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has a bill for maintenance work at Eastbourne District General Hospital and Conquest Hospital in St Leonards of around £15.2 million.

Some of the backlog is linked to the high maintenance cost of older hospital sites, including the Barry and Jubilee buildings at the Royal Sussex.

The planned £420 million redevelopment of the Royal Sussex will include replacing these buildings, which are almost 200 years old and cost hundreds of thousands to keep maintained.

A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals said: “Our backlog repair bill refers to the amount of money we would have to spend to bring old buildings up to the standard of a brand-new hospital.

“Every year we have to prioritise the money we have to keep all our buildings in a good state of repair, safe and in line with statutory standards.”

East Sussex Healthcare chief operating officer Richard Sunley said: “We manage our building and maintenance backlog within the money we have available.

“We continually assess and prioritise the work that is required on a risk basis, and, as with all our planning, the safety of our patients and staff is a priority.”