RAAC issue part of a much bigger problem of NHS maintenance backlogs

Matthew Taylor comments on efforts to remove RAAC from NHS hospitals and the wider maintenance backlog.

1 September 2023

Responding to the ongoing removal of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) from NHS hospitals, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The NHS has been following technical guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers to ensure its sites that use reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete are monitored closely for any risks and that the planks are removed from these premises as quickly as possible. The identification of RAAC continues as the guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers has been updated.

“To support this further, health leaders welcomed the government’s commitment to fully-fund and accelerate building work for the hospitals most significantly affected as part of its New Hospitals Programme, as well as the wider NHS estate.

“This is important as the mitigations in place at these sites are affecting how much care can be delivered, for example where wards need to be closed, as well as adding to daily running costs at a time when staff are making every effort to tackle the treatment backlogs and stabilise urgent and emergency care.

“The RAAC issue is part of a much bigger problem facing the NHS where the current cost of the maintenance backlog for repairs, building upgrades and new equipment stands at £11bn and where over one in five primary care premises in England are not fit for purpose.

“As capital spending in the NHS over the last ten years to 2020 has been around half that of other OECD countries, it is clear this will require further and sustained attention from the government to put right.”