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Big rise in hospitals in England confirmed to be affected by unsafe concrete

todayOctober 20, 2023

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Big rise in hospitals in England confirmed to be affected by unsafe concrete

The number of hospitals confirmed to be affected by unsafe concrete has risen dramatically.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published a list of 42 hospitals in England that have evidence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) – 18 more than were previously made public.

It comes after NHS trusts across England were ordered by the government in May to assess their estates for the presence of RAAC.

The NHS says the updated list includes any hospital where the concrete has been found – and may only be a small part of the hospital.

See the full list below

An NHS spokesperson said: “Where RAAC has been identified, full structural surveys will be undertaken, with mitigations and local maintenance programmes put in place to maintain safety for staff, patients and visitors and ensure patients can continue to receive the best possible care.”

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts across England, said: “This old concrete puts patients and staff at risk and the picture is getting worse.

“We feared that even more of this unsafe material would be found in hospitals and NHS buildings by government-ordered surveys.”

He said trusts were doing “everything they can, at huge cost, to keep patients safe where this concrete is found”.

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What is the concrete crisis?

RAAC is a cheap, lightweight, “bubbly” material that was used in construction between the 1950s and 1990s, when a report found structural deficiencies meant it only has a lifespan of around 30 years.

It was mostly used for flat roofs – but also in walls and floors.

Investigations into RAAC in schools were stepped up in 2018 when the roof of a primary school in Gravesend, Kent, collapsed without warning.

The government announced in September that 104 education “settings” had been identified as having reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete – on top of the 52 already investigated this year.

Another 43 schools and colleges were confirmed to have RAAC on Thursday.

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Schools have also had to close off buildings due to RAAC

The unsafe concrete was also found in other public buildings, such as hospitals, schools and a shopping centre.

NHS Providers previously identified 14 of its hospitals, which were constructed “either wholly or in major part with RAAC”.

It said seven were considered “critical” and not fit for purpose beyond 2030.

Read more:
Which buildings are at risk of concrete collapse?
St David’s Hall to stay shut until 2025 over RAAC concerns

Separately, in Wales, where healthcare is largely devolved to the Welsh government, an internal major incident was declared at Withybush Hospital in Pembrokeshire in September after RAAC was found in three wards – all of which had to be closed.

Four office buildings, part of the restaurant and a chapel were closed at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny after RAAC was identified there.

Withybush Hospital in Pembrokeshire has had to shut 50% of its wards

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Withybush Hospital in Pembrokeshire has had to shut 50% of its wards

The material was also found in a “limited part” of Bronglais Hospital in Ceredigion.

In Scotland, where healthcare is largely devolved to the Scottish government, 254 hospital buildings were placed under investigation last month.

This includes 53 from NHS Grampian, 44 from Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 35 from Lothian, 25 from Highland, 22 from Fife, eight from Forth Valley, and seven from the Borders.

The Scottish government said at the time there was “no evidence” that any of the buildings were unsafe.

Here’s the Department of Health’s full list of affected hospitals in England:

East of England

North Cambridgeshire Hospital – Wisbech
James Paget Hospital
Broomfield Hospital
Norwich Community Hospital
Hinchingbrooke Hospital
Stamford and Rutland Hospital
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
West Suffolk Hospital

London

Chase Farm Hospital
Homerton University Hospital
University Hospital Lewisham
Royal Free Hospital

Midlands

Haywood Hospital
Russells Hall
The Princess Royal Hospital

North East and Yorkshire

Airedale General Hospital
Barnsley Hospital
Harrogate Hospital
University Hospital of North Tees
Scunthorpe General Hospital
James Cook Hospital
Scarborough General Hospital

North West

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Countess of Chester Hospital
Royal Blackburn Hospital
University Hospital Aintree
North Manchester General
Wythenshawe Hospital
Leighton Hospital
Salford Royal Hospital
The Royal Oldham Hospital
Stepping Hill Hospital
Clatterbridge Hospital

South East

Frimley Park Hospital
Medway Maritime Hospital
Churchill Hospital
Guildford Hospital
St Marys Community Hospital
Southampton General Hospital
St Richard’s Hospital
North Devon District Hospital
Derriford Hospital

Written by: Newsroom

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