Call To Speed Up Rebuilding Of Hospitals Affected By RAAC

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A government committee has said that it has no confidence that the promised 40 new hospitals will be built by 2030, as was promised. Several hospitals across the country have already installed modular buildings to provide much-need extra ward capacity or to replace outdated facilities that are affected by crumbling infrastructure.

Furthermore, a new report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said that if the rebuilding of seven hospitals that are constructed entirely out of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) is not sped up, then the hospitals will be forced to close entirely.

BBC News reports that PAC chairwoman Dame Meg Hillier was horrified when she visited some of the hospitals affected by Racc, including Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire that could not admit obese bariatric patients to the upper floors because of the risk of structural failure.

Dame Hillier said: “The physical edifice that is the NHS is quite literally crumbling before our eyes. There was nothing inevitable about this heartbreaking crisis. It can be laid squarely at the door of the decision to raid budgets reserved for maintenance and investment in favour of day-to-day spending.”

“The sharp distinction between capital and revenue budgets exists for a reason. We are now seeing the consequences of this short-termism visited on patients and services. In such circumstances, then, it is bitterly disappointing to report on the current state of the NHP.”

PAC made its report after an inquiry into the New Hospital Programme (NHP), which was included in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto and pledged to create 40 new hospitals. However, the inquiry found that there was insufficient funding for the programme, and that it was unlikely they would all be built by 2030.

The highly critical report said that so far, patients had seen almost no results from the pledge. Furthermore, it said that the future hospitals could risk being too small because they didn’t take into account a growing and ageing population with increasing complex health conditions.


Dame Hillier added: “Quite aside from the fact that the planned new hospitals risk being too small for future purposes, funding does not even appear to be in place to construct them in time, all underpinned by failures of basic record-keeping and fresh and urgent concerns over RAAC.”

“Though we have no confidence that the NHP will deliver on its current promises, we hope that the recommendations in our report help to get it back on track – for the sake of all citizens who desperately need the NHS to get well soon.”

So far, a total of 41 NHS buildings have been identified as containing Raac. Some of this is due to the buildings not being properly maintained as funding has been diverted to day to day spending.

Some of the urgent need for new ward and clinical space in the NHS is currently being met with modular building solutions that are affordable, flexible and fast to construct.

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