Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete at the Royal Bolton Hospital site

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Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete at the Royal Bolton Hospital site

Since identifying RAAC on the hospital site in November 2023 we have taken the following actions to make sure that our staff, patients and visitors remain safe in our buildings:

  • An ongoing, rolling programme of inspection of the identified RAAC planks
  • Propping the known affected areas whilst we do detailed surveys of the department and areas
  • Safely decanting the affected areas, which in turn will allow the Trust to commence essential RAAC refurbishment/stabilisation and eradication works to areas of known RAAC
  • A full survey of the hospital site is now underway (Jan 2024). In order to carry out the inspections and any remedial work there may be some unavoidable disruption, including ward and service moves. Some areas will be closed to patients/public during the inspection and subsequent works
  • We will continue working with the national NHS RAAC experts to ensure the right steps are being taken to manage any issues to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff
  • Signage is in place in all areas, and the public are being advised before attending appointments or for scheduled treatment where this will be taking place
  • The safety of our staff and patients remains our utmost priority and we thank patients, visitors and our staff for their patience and understanding while these vital works are carried out

Annette Walker, Chief Finance Officer with responsibility for Estates at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said:

“As part of our ongoing monitoring, there has been some identification of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in our maternity building. This was our first priority area to inspect when assessing our estate due to the age of the building.

“We are working with our estates team, iFM Bolton, and the national experts in the NHS to safely secure and prop the RAAC immediately.

“We are taking all necessary steps to keep our patients, families and staff safe in the affected area.”

  1. What is RAAC?

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a lightweight material that was used mostly in flat roofing, but also in floors and walls in schools, colleges, and hospitals between the 1950s and 1990s.

It is a cheaper alternative to standard concrete, is quicker to produce and easier to install.

It is aerated, or “bubbly”, with a lifespan of around 30 years.

Its structural behaviour differs significantly from traditional reinforced concrete.

Moreover, it is susceptible to structural failure when exposed to moisture. The bubbles can allow water to enter the material.

If that happens, any rebar reinforcing RAAC can also decay, rust and weaken.

  1. What are you doing to make sure the hospital is safe?

Since RAAC was first discovered, we have been undertaking remedial works where required, which currently involves propping the known affected areas whilst we do detailed surveys of the department and areas. We will continue working with the right experts to ensure the right steps are taken to manage any issues to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff.

  1. What is propping?

Putting structural support into wards and other areas to further support the RAAC panels.

  1. What are you expecting the survey to show/are other areas of the hospital affected?

Until the full survey is conducted, we will not know if we have RAAC in other areas of the building or the hospital.

The safety of staff, patients and visitors is our utmost priority, which is why we are accelerating this programme of inspection so we can begin any remedial works where required as quickly as possible.

  1. Will I still be able to come in for my appointment/treatment/to give birth?

To carry out the inspection and do any of the work needed may mean some unavoidable disruption, including ward and service moves.

During this time we will be putting plans in place so that other appropriate areas are found for you to receive care, and so that disruption is as little as possible.

We will let you know about any moves in advance of your appointment. We apologise for any inconvenience during this time.

Information about current moves can be found here.

  1. Will this affect my birth plan?

At this time you will still be able to do everything you were planning for your birth, including water births.

  1. Can I still have visitors?

Yes, our visiting policy remains the same – details are on the visiting pages of our website and here for visiting our maternity department.

  1. Who do I get in touch with if I have any concerns?

Please contact the number on your appointment letters, and they will make sure you are directed to the right person to help.

Whilst we conduct the inspection and do any work needed, there may be some ward and service moves so that we can provide your care safely elsewhere.

We’ll keep this page updated with any moves, and let you know in advance of your appointment if you’re used to attending appointments in a particular place. There will be signage on all doors.

Current relocations:

M4 and M5 (postnatal) have moved to G4, first floor of Royal Bolton Hospital – view map online.

Some Women’s Healthcare services have moved to Lever Chambers, in Bolton town centre.

M1 and M6 (our gynaecology and early pregnancy units) have moved to H1 – view map online.

For more information on the RAAC programme – NHS England » Reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete (RAAC)

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