Health secretary praises hospital campaigners

Health Secretary Steve Barclay praised those who have campaigned for a new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn as he announced to the House of Commons yesterday that one will be built by 2030.

In announcing that the QEH was one of five RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) hospitals to be rebuilt, he acknowledged the current building was not safe to operate before 2030.

He said: “I would like to take a moment to thank all those who have campaigned so tirelessly for new hospitals to be built to replace the existing RAAC hospitals.

Health secretary Steve Barclay
Health secretary Steve Barclay

“This includes MPs James Wild and Liz Truss, who have campaigned so assiduously in terms of Lynn.”

Referring to the Government’s manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, Mr Barclay said that since the launch, ministers have learned more about the use of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) – as used on the current QEH.

He said Government now knows that RAAC has a limited lifespan with difficult and dangerous consequences for the people who rely on or work in those hospitals.

“I know this has caused considerable concern to colleagues in this House, to NHS staff in those hospitals and to constituents who are treated in them. We remain committed to eradicating RAAC from the wider NHS estate.

“Seven hospitals in England have been constructed – either wholly or in major part – with RAAC. An independent assessment shows they are not safe to operate beyond 2030. We accept in full the independent assessment.”