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All Withybush wards affected by RAAC planks now open

23 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Withybush General Hospital

All six wards at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest which were closed due to the presence of RAAC planks last year are now open.

Six of the Pembrokeshire hospital’s 12 wards were closed last summer after a significant amount of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) planks were found in the hospital building.

Hywel Dda University Health Board declared an internal major incident in order to identify the scale and impact of RAAC on the site and carry out urgent survey and repair work.

As well as the six wards, areas on the ground floor and kitchen, including outpatients and clinic rooms were also closed.

Wards 7, 9 and 12 were reopened at Christmas; Ward 11 was back up and running in January while Ward 10 was re-opened earlier this month.

Work came to an end on Ward 8 – the last ward to re-open – last week.

RAAC is a material that was commonly used in the construction of buildings between the 1960s and 1990s.

Its presence has been confirmed at Withybush Hospital and at a limited part of Bronglais Hospital.

It has also been identified at a range of NHS properties and other public buildings such as schools, across the UK.

Extensive work

One of the services most seriously affected by the ongoing RAAC survey and repair work  at Withybush has been elective inpatient surgery, but with the re-opening of all wards, this will now be introduced back to the hospital.

There is still some extensive work to be done on the ground floor at Withybush including at Outpatient Departments A and B and the Physiotherapy Department which are currently in use and temporarily fully supported with props and safe to operate in.

There is likely to be disruption when these areas are closed.

RAAC will continue to be an issue at Withybush Hospital, with repair work continuing throughout this year.

There is also an ongoing programme of regular survey work to monitor the condition of the RAAC, which will cause some disruption from time to time.

Director of Operations Andrew Carrurthers said: “We are very pleased that the wards which were closed while we undertook essential repair work to the RAAC concrete planks are now operating as normal.

“And while there is still much work to do to manage the survey and repair work resulting from the discovery of RAAC concrete, we are now in a much better place than we found ourselves this time last year.

“This has been a challenging time for staff who have had to adapt very quickly to a fast-changing situation. This is on top of a difficult winter which has seen Emergency Departments (A&E) at all our hospitals having to cope under enormous pressures. We hope the reopening of the wards at Withybush will relieve some of this pressure.

“Our staff have shown incredible teamwork and resilience during a very difficult time, so I would like to thank them for their support. Thanks also to our patients and members of the public who have been affected by the ongoing work. Some have had to be treated at alternative locations within the health board area, so my thanks to them for their patience and understanding.

“The internal major incident declared at Withybush Hospital was brought to an end in January, but survey and repair work will continue until Spring 2025, so there is some way to go before Withybush hospital returns to a normal service. We will continue to engage with our staff, patients and the public and keep them informed of the latest developments.”

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Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
22 days ago

There are rumours flying around in Pembrokeshire that Hywel Dda NHS trust will use the presence of RAAC in Withybush hospital as an excuse to close the hospital and build a new one near Whitland or St. Clears (depending on which version of the rumour you hear).

Maybe this will poor cold water on these rumours but I doubt it, facts are all very well but nothing beats a good rumor.

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