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Ministers admit 34 hospital buildings in England have roofs that could collapse

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Thirty-four hospital buildings in England have roofs made of concrete that is so unstable they could fall down at any time, ministers have admitted.

The revelation has prompted renewed fears that ceilings at the hospitals affected might suddenly collapse, injuring staff and patients, and calls for urgent action to tackle the problem.

Maria Caulfield, a health minister, made the disclosure in a written answer to a parliamentary question asked by the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson, Daisy Cooper.

Caulfield said surveys carried out by the NHS found that 34 buildings at 16 different health trusts contained reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), which one hospital boss has likened to a “chocolate Aero bar”. RAAC was widely used in building hospitals and schools in the 1960s, 70s and 80s but has a 30-year lifespan and is now causing serious problems.

In 2020 Simon Corben, NHS England’s director of estates, declared that RAAC planks posed a “significant safety risk” because their age meant they could fall down without warning.

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Source: The Guardian, 14 August 2022

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