Sheffield MP grills government over reinforced concrete following Doncaster Royal Infirmary collapse

A Sheffield MP grilled government officials last week over the continued use of a type of reinforced concrete in hospitals such as Doncaster and Sheffield.
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During the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday (7 September) Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake grilled officials on the continued use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in buildings.

It comes after the government announced the closure of over 150 schools due to the potential of RAAC to cause the collapse of buildings.

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Shortly after, a ceiling collapsed at the increasingly troubled Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) in a hospital ward.

The collapse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.The collapse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
The collapse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Doncaster’s Mayor, the area’s three MPs and several parliamentary candidates have called upon the government to build a new hospital to replace the site which has an estimated backlog of 600 repairs.

During the PAC, Olivia Blake raised concerns over the fact that RAAC in hospitals is not being replaced at the same speed as in schools.

She called for sites with the material present to be moved to the front of the New Hospitals Programme, which Doncaster lost its bid for earlier this year.

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Olivia Blake MP said during the meeting: “It is mind-blowing that a hospital in the condition of Doncaster is not part of the New Hospital Programme. The promise of a desperately needed rebuild being scrapped rightly angered many. Now the subsequent ceiling collapse this summer highlights the urgent need for this hospital to be rebuilt.

“I remain unclear on why Doncaster and Sheffield were moved out of the programme. The NAO has highlighted that there is no documentation to explain why this decision has been made, and we know that, ultimately, the Government will have to look to replace both hospitals as quickly as possible. Doncaster had a backlog maintenance bill of up to £100 million pounds which would take it 25 years to deliver on current budgets and at the end of that it would still need replacing.

“When a ceiling has so recently collapsed in Doncaster, you would hope the Government would treat this situation with a matter of urgency. It seems, however, that they are not planning to replace the building until long after 2030.