15 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • 34 hospital buildings revealed to have dangerous roofs at risk of collapsing
  • Lib Dems call for “double bill freeze” this winter to save families £2,000

34 hospital buildings revealed to have dangerous roofs at risk of collapsing

  • The poor quality roofs described as “chocolate aero bars” by fearful hospital bosses
  • NHS chiefs are emergency planning for the roofs to collapse at 16 different hospitals
  • One of the hospitals affected is in Liz Truss’s Norfolk constituency

A new Parliamentary Question tabled by the Liberal Democrats has revealed 34 hospital buildings across 16 different NHS trusts are fitted with roofs which NHS chiefs have warned could collapse at any moment. Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey is demanding the Government action plan for emergency upgrades to the hospitals as patients and staff safety are put at risk.

The government revealed that 34 buildings at 16 NHS trust have been identified as being fitted with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) which is said to be ‘structurally weaker’, ‘lightweight’ and ‘cheaper’ than a regular fitting.

NHS chief executive of Queen Elizabeth in King’s Lynn, Caroline Shaw, likened the material to a “chocolate Aero bar” with bubbles that could break and collapse at any point. It has been reported that some of the roofs are even being held up by steel props due to their structural weakness. This hospital is in Liz Truss’s constituency in Norfolk.

Hinchingbrooke in Cambridge, also impacted by these dangerous roof fittings, last year banned patients weighing more than 19 stone from having surgery in two of its operating theatres in case it put too much strain on the floor.

It comes after the Sunday Times revealed the NHS is planning for the possibility of hospital roofs collapsing in a number of trusts across the country.

Other impacted buildings include West Suffolk Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth and James Paget hospitals in Norfolk, Airedale Hospital in West Yorkshire, Leighton Hospital in Cheshire, and Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

This new Parliamentary Question reveals the problem is far more widespread than first known.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

It is simply unthinkable that patients are being treated in buildings that could be at risk of collapse.

We need to see urgent action from the government now to fix our hospital buildings and ensure the safety of patients and NHS staff.

From record waiting lists to crumbling hospital roofs, patients are paying the price of years of Conservative neglect of our NHS. It’s time the government focused on actually delivering instead of making yet more empty promises.

Pippa Heylings, a Councillor in Cambridgeshire, demanded a Minister visited the affected local hospital:

We want to see a Health Minister at our local hospital this week to see for themselves and finally take urgent action. In Cambridgeshire we not only have to put up with spiralling ambulance wait times, but even our hospital buildings aren’t up to scratch. We’ve been overlooked by Westminster and its patients and NHS staff who are paying the price.

Lib Dems call for “double bill freeze” this winter to save families £2,000

  • The party responds to economic figures due out this week by calling for energy bills and rail fares to be frozen
  • Sarah Olney MP slams Conservative leadership contenders as “being out of touch and out of ideas” on cost of living crisis

Ahead of new wage and inflation figures being announced this week, the Liberal Democrats are calling for a “double bill freeze” to save families on the brink this winter.

The party’s policies directly combat what new economic stats are expected to reveal this week, which include real-wages falling and inflation still spilling out of control.

In response, the Liberal Democrats want the Government to freeze the new energy price cap which is announced at the end of the month, and also freeze rail fares which are due to rise by a record amount in January.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson has accused both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak of being “out of touch and out of ideas”, with both leadership contenders refusing to scrap the energy price cap rise which would save the typical family £1,400 per year.

Rail fares are also due to rise by as much as 12% when new inflation figures are announced on Wednesday. By freezing rail prices, the average rail commuter travelling will save £600 this year.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are out of touch and out of ideas. Their half-baked plans to get people through the worst cost of living crisis in a generation are pitiful and barely scratch the surface.

Britain is faced with a looming economic crisis which requires bold action to save families and pensioners on the brink. This month sees the double whammy of new energy and rail prices both being announced all whilst we have a Zombie Government in Westminster.

There is not a second to lose to save Britain from this crisis. Now is the time to freeze bills before it’s too late.

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3 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 16th Aug '22 - 10:19am

    To win seats at a next election is going to be difficult for the Tory Party. At present it’s like playing at politics.
    We need a better run NHS, better from within and without. It has been written that the NHS is top heavy.
    Our Society has many issues only made worse by the constant waste of Public Funding.

  • Peter Hirst 16th Aug '22 - 1:28pm

    While not wishing to minimise the cost of living crisis, we do also need some long-term thinking. To rejoin the eu we need to get our own house in order. Perhaps the jolt of Brexit will provide the stimulus required to improve our governance, tackle inequality, and regain our place on the world stage though only if if there is a change of government at the next GE.

  • >It is simply unthinkable that patients are being treated in buildings that could be at risk of collapse.
    More importantly, how did these buildings satisfy building regulations; because if they did there is ah very high probably of there being other buildings (outside of the NHS) that used this construction technique…

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