Scarborough Hospital moves staff to temporary workspaces due to ‘risk of roof collapsing’

Some staff have been relocated to temporary workspaces due to the “risk of a roof collapsing” at Scarborough Hospital.
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Staff at Scarborough and York hospitals have been relocated to temporary work spaces following the discovery of an old building material which poses a risk of collapse and “potential of death or serious injuries”.

The use – and subsequent deterioration of – reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in the pathology roof at Scarborough Hospital has led to the relocation of staff after health bosses were advised that “this construction method had a limited lifespan that has been exceeded and could be subject to failure”.

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Experts have highlighted the “significant risk of failure” of RAAC planks, especially when used in roofs, as they can be hard to access and replace.

Scarborough Hospital. Photo: GoogleScarborough Hospital. Photo: Google
Scarborough Hospital. Photo: Google

The pathology roof at Scarborough Hospital has been built using RAAC planks and also contains asbestos, according to a report prepared for a board meeting of the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The report states that the presence of asbestos in the location has prevented remedial work being undertaken.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “Staff in the affected area, mainly the laboratory building, have been relocated into temporary workspaces at Scarborough and York hospitals, either in existing spaces or the modular cabins that have been procured and installed using a combination of trust funding and central government Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) related funding.

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“A feasibility study has been undertaken to scope the work required to eradicate the RAAC planks at Scarborough and to provide a high-level cost forecast and programme for this work.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the spokesperson added: “We hope to access the money required to eradicate the RAAC from the NHS England national RAAC programme, which we are a member of.

“The RAAC has not degraded further and is being effectively managed in line with current central government instructions and reported on to the RAAC Programme Board, chaired by NHS England.”

The trust has secured funding for the first phase of the plan to deal with the RAAC in the laboratory medicine building at Scarborough Hospital and has said that an update will be given in December regarding national funding support.

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However, the report also reveals that due to the age and backlog maintenance liability within the trust estate, there is “a high risk of unplanned failure of plant and equipment and availability of accommodation”.

A large part of the trust estate is “well beyond the design life cycle” and requires significant investment to address and reverse backlog maintenance, the trust’s board was told in May.