It is a type of cheaper, lightweight concrete that contains air bubbles, commonly used in UK construction from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. It is believed to last about 30 years.
There are seven hospitals in England that were either partly or completely constructed using Raac, two of which already have been replaced, with plans for the other five soon to be underway in the Government’s new hospitals programme.
When the parliamentary Public Accounts select committee asked NHS England CFO and deputy CEO Julian Kelly what the timeline for the eradication of Raac in hospitals was, he was unable to provide a specific timeline.
Mr Kelly explained: “There has been a commitment to eradicate them all by 2035,” before adding: “We have not done those full structural surveys to properly identify the total scale and level of the issue.”
These full surveys are expected to be completed in the next few weeks, however, it’s unclear when Raac will be removed from hospitals and how much the procedure will cost the taxpayer.
Here’s a look at a full list of English NHS hospitals that will be included in the review.
Full list of NHS hospitals made with Raac concrete
List of NHS hospitals “made nearly exclusively” of Raac:
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn
Leighton Hospital, Crewe
James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth
Frimley Park Hospital, Camberley
Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon
Airedale Hospital, Keighley
West Suffolk Hospital
Other NHS hospitals and buildings affected:
Broomfield Hospital, Building 60, Chelmsford
Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Block 44 and Block 8
Southampton General Hospital Laboratory and Pathology Block
Bassetlaw and District General Hospital mental illness buildings and theatres 1-4, Nottinghamshire
Kidderminster Hospital Block A
Scarborough General Hospital pathology, pathology link corridor, theatre, attic, plant room, and north/south block link corridor.
Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital Level 4, R14 and R15
The Royal Oldham hospital roof and The Salford Royal Turnberg building
Haywood Hospital, Stoke-On-Trent
Aintree University Hospital Tower block plant rooms, main kitchen, Clinics A, B, C, D, and F, Domestic services centre, imagine department, Ward 6, Theatre A plantroom/recovery, pre-op
Haverhill Health Centre, Suffolk
Warren Farm Health Centre, Birmingham
What mitigation plans are in progress?
NHS England has warned hospital management to be ready to evacuate staff and patients if buildings show any concerning signs during reviews.
The Government has also confirmed that it has a mitigation plan in place with additional funding to repair or replace buildings affected as needed.
A The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said: “The NHS has a mitigation plan in place for hospital buildings with confirmed Raac, backed with significant additional funding of £698m from 2021 to 2025, for trusts to put in place necessary remediation and failsafe measures. We remain committed to eradicating Raac from the NHS estate entirely by 2035.
“Additionally, we have announced that the seven most affected NHS hospitals will be replaced by 2030 through our New Hospital Programme. The technical advice received from the NHS is that the current approach to monitoring and mitigation remains appropriate.”
However, a hospital in Wales had admitted that its patients have been at risk of danger for “many years” with crumbling concrete detected throughout Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest.
The building has had to be bolstered with more than 150 steel and timber props to keep the wards running. One ward has been closed altogether, and one hallway has had 40 props erected to keep the ceiling up.