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Safety inspections at hospital set to continue into 2024

28 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Withybush Hospital. Photo via Google

Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed that urgent safety checks at Withybush Hospital are set to continue into the new year.

The programme of safety surveys is being conducted to assess the condition of concrete roof planks in wards at the hospital site in Haverfordwest.

The surveys, which began in May 2023, are aimed at managing the risks around reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) planks and are expected to continue for at least another seven months.

RAAC is a material that was commonly used in construction in buildings between the 1960s and 1990s. Its presence has been confirmed in a range of National Health Service properties across the UK and includes several properties in Wales.

Roof and structures made of RAAC have been described as of “limited durability” an concerns have increased recently following several incidents including the failure of two RAAC roofs without warning.


Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Director of Operations, Andrew Carruthers, said: “In response to Welsh Government and wider industry alerts on this product, we have put in place a range of measures to manage the risk.

“In May 2023 we appointed a structural engineering company to undertake further intensive surveys of the areas in question and provide a full report on each individual RAAC plank.”

“Survey work is being undertaken at pace and is likely to continue for several months. The work includes a visual survey of affected areas, before a plank-by-plank detailed survey.

“Where structural issues are identified, the extent of the remedial work is also being assessed. This may see more local mitigations put in place, including structural props and temporary closure of impacted areas.

“Survey and repair work will have an impact on clinical areas and hospital wards so all arrangements for repair work are being supported by the clinical hospital managers.”

The health board says plans were put in place at the beginning of the survey process to manage the impact on the work on day-to-day services at the hospital with the availability of hospital beds a priority.

The order of surveys and associated remedial works have been arranged to make the most of clinical capacity to ensure both routine and emergency surgery can continue with minimal disruption to patient care.

To make up for the temporary loss of beds at Withybush, 14 additional beds have been made available in Cleddau Ward at South Pembrokeshire Hospital in Pembroke Dock.


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