Five hospitals constructed mostly using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete will be rebuilt by 2030 as Government reaffirms its commitment to the New Hospital Programme
Five hospitals built using structurally-unsound reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete will be reconstructed as the Government commits to pressing ahead with the long-delayed New Hospitals Programme
The Government has announced a commitment to rebuild five major hospitals as part of its New Hospital Programme.
After months of widespread criticism over its failure to push ahead with the promised 40 new hospitals outlined in the plan, Whitehall chiefs have this week confirmed a £20billion moneypot to bring five of the schemes to fruition.
The hospitals are Airedale, West Yorkshire; Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn in Norfolk; Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire; Mid Cheshire Leighton in Cheshire; and Frimley Park in Surrey.
All the hospitals have significant amounts of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) – a lightweight type of concrete used to construct parts of the NHS estate in the past, but which has a limited lifespan, after which it deteriorates significantly.
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 – have already been announced as part of the New Hospital Programme and the construction of these new hospitals will be prioritised to ensure patient and staff safety.
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 will now be completed past 2030, the Government statement added.
In the immediate term, we are focusing on quickly and safely rebuilding hospitals in areas which need it most – with over £20billion expected to be invested in new hospital infrastructure
But it says that the Government ‘remains committed’ to delivering all hospitals within the programme as soon as possible – the biggest in a generation – and will ensure all schemes have adequate funding.
And it says it is on track to deliver its manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030, because in addition to the five RAAC hospitals, three mental health hospitals will also be delivered through wider capital funding by 2030 – as part of a commitment to eradicate dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities across the country and put mental health on an equal footing to physical health services.
Two hospitals in the New Hospital Programme are already complete and another five are in construction.
By the end of next year, the Government says that more than 20 will be underway or complete.
And it says it will ‘keep the situation under review and do everything it can to accelerate the completion timeline of the hospitals impacted, if circumstances allow’.
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.
“On top of this I am strengthening our New Hospital Programme by today confirming that it is expected to represent more than £20billion of new investment in hospital infrastructure.
This is a significant milestone for the New Hospital Programme, as we continue to progress with delivering facilities for staff and patients at the cutting edge of modern technology with the experience of those who will use these hospitals at the heart of our focus
“As we approach the 75th anniversary of our fantastic NHS, this extra investment will ensure it can care for patients for decades to come and help cut waiting lists so they get the treatment they need quicker.”
Going forward, new schemes will be ‘considered through a rolling programme of capital investment in hospital infrastructure to secure the building of new hospitals beyond 2030’, the statement said.
This will mean further future investment to upgrade NHS facilities across the country, with details to be agreed periodically to provide greater future certainty.
Health Minister, Lord Markham, said: “We are investing in new NHS facilities across the country, giving patients the certainty they can access world-leading care in state-of-the-art hospitals, both now and in the years to come.
“In the immediate term, we are focusing on quickly and safely rebuilding hospitals in areas which need it most – specifically those affected by this specific type of concrete, which poses a significant risk to patients and staff if not rebuilt by 2030 – with over £20billion expected to be invested in new hospital infrastructure.
We are continuing to build healthcare infrastructure that improves patient care – including modern designs, creating single rooms, and ensuring maximum natural light and access to outdoor spaces
“In the long term, our new standardised design means we can rapidly replicate new hospitals across the country, helping speed up construction and improving services for patients faster.”
Senior responsible owner of the New Hospital Programme, Natalie Forrest, added: “This is a significant milestone for the New Hospital Programme, as we continue to progress with delivering facilities for staff and patients at the cutting edge of modern technology with the experience of those who will use these hospitals at the heart of our focus.
“We are continuing to build healthcare infrastructure that improves patient care – including modern designs, creating single rooms, and ensuring maximum natural light and access to outdoor spaces.
“This new design will reduce the workload of NHS staff through digital solutions, well designed flow, and designated areas for staff recuperation.
“I look forward to continuing to work with all trusts already in the programme and welcoming the new ones into the New Hospital Programme.”