Welsh minister for health and social services Eluned Morgan has published a statement on Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in NHS buildings.
In May 2019, an alert from the independent UK body the Standing Committee on Structural Safety highlighted significant concerns around the structural safety of properties with RAAC, which had been used in construction generally between the 1960s and 1980s.
Since the alert, health officials and advisers at NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) have been engaging with NHS Wales about the management of and the risks associated with RAAC.
In 2022, NWSSP appointed a specialist structural engineer on behalf of the Welsh Government to review the reports received by organisations and those locations where RAAC had been identified. These reviews were completed in November 2022.
Health boards and NHS trusts were then requested in February 2023 to complete a further iteration of investigation to take into account the findings of the specialist engineers reports. These enhanced assurance reports are currently ongoing and those which have been completed are being collected and reviewed.
RAAC has been identified at Withybush Hospital, in Haverfordwest and Nevill Hall Hospital, in Abergavenny. These health boards are currently carrying out further investigations and are taking necessary mitigation measures.
At Withybush Hospital six ward areas are currently closed for mitigation works. These wards are planned to be recommissioned on a phased basis with an aim to complete works by the end of March 2024. 32 patients have been moved to beds commissioned in South Pembrokeshire Hospital.
At Nevill Hall Hospital, a small number of non-clinical areas have been closed on site.
Morgan said: "I have asked my Officials to commission the NHS to identify the presence of RAAC across the NHS Estates Portfolio which includes any building from which NHS care is delivered."