No patients or staff at risk from collapse-prone concrete in hospitals says minister

 Picture: John Devlin Picture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin
Patients and staff will not be at risk despite the presence of collapse-risk concrete in surgical wards, Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has said.

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) is suspected to be present in 254 NHS buildings, the Scottish Government confirmed.

An NHS Scotland Assure report shows the Grampian health board area has 52 buildings impacted, while there are 44 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 35 in Lothian and 29 in Tayside.

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NHS Highland has 25 affected buildings, Fife 22, there are 18 in Lanarkshire, 10 in Ayrshire and Arran, eight in Forth Valley, and seven and three in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway health board areas respectively.

The buildings include surgical wards at Falkirk Community Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and the University Hospital Monklands, Airdrie.

Antenatal and maternity wards are also impacted, including in Aberdeen and Perth Royal Infirmary, as is a radiotherapy ward in Aberdeen.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Ms Robison – who is standing in for Humza Yousaf while he attends Climate Week in New York – gave assurances of safety to staff and patients accessing the buildings.

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She said the appropriate measures and risk assessments are taking place, following advice from the Institute of Structural Engineers.

“No patients and no staff will be left in any dangerous building anywhere – and we shouldn’t suggest that because that worries people,” she said.

Investigations are also continuing into the presence of Raac in schools and universities, with figures now suggesting 29 sites across 11 universities and 40 schools also contain the potentially dangerous concrete.

The Deputy First Minister was responding to a question from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, who urged Ms Robison to “vouch for the safety of everyone going for surgery, every cancer patient and every newborn currently receiving care in a ward where this concrete is suspected to be present”.

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Ms Robison added: “It is important that we give assurance to the public that all of these matters are absolutely in hand and that the guidance from the Institute of Structural Engineers is being followed.

“Hopefully, that is something that Alex Cole-Hamilton can join us in giving that reassuring message.”

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