Five hospitals at risk of collapse added to new build programme

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago

The Government has added five hospital projects to its £20bn building programme due to the risk of structural collapse because of weak concrete.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire added to rebuild programme over fear of structural collapse
Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire added to rebuild programme over fear of structural collapse

It will prioritise rebuilding the five hospitals by 2030, which used limited life-span reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RACC) now at the end of its design life.

As a result of this reprioritisation, as well as the rising cost of construction materials, up to eight schemes that were originally due to be constructed towards the end of the decade have been shunted beyond 2030.

Announcing the reboot of the New Hospital Programme, the Government also for the first time has committed to a £20bn spend on hospital infrastructure.

Five hospitals built using RACC

  • Airedale in West Yorkshire
  • Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn in Norfolk
  • Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire
  • Mid Cheshire Leighton in Cheshire
  • Frimley Park in Surrey

The NHS has asked the government to prioritise the rebuilding of these hospitals given the risks they pose to patients and staff – the full extent of which has come to light since the New Hospital Programme was first announced in 2020.

Two of the worst affected hospitals – West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and James Paget Hospital in Norfolk – were previously included in the New Hospital Programme and the construction of these major new hospitals will be prioritised to ensure patient and staff safety.

Despite project delays the government maintained it was still on track to deliver the manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030, because in addition to the five RAAC hospitals, three smaller mental health hospitals will also be delivered at a cost of £180m. These will be located in Surrey, Derbyshire and Mersey

This followed a commitment to eradicate dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities across the country and put mental health on an equal footing to physical health.

Two hospitals in the New Hospital Programme are already complete and five in construction. By the end of next year more than 20 will be underway or complete.

The government will keep the situation under review and do everything it can to accelerate the completion timeline of the hospitals impacted, if circumstances allow. The New Hospital Programme will continue to work closely with new and existing schemes on their plans to ensure they deliver for patients, staff and communities.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “These five hospitals are in pressing need of repair and are being prioritised so patients and staff can benefit from major new hospital buildings, equipped with the latest technology.”

40-project New Hospital Programme – so far

  • Two hospitals are now open to patients:
    • Northern Centre for Cancer Care – North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.
    • Royal Liverpool Hospital – Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Five further hospitals are under construction, including:
    • Midland Metropolitan Hospital – Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
    • Northgate Hospital –Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    • Greater Manchester Major Trauma Hospital – Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust
    • 3Ts Hospital – Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
    • Bath Cancer Hospital – Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Foundation Trust

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