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Gwent health chiefs stress ‘commitment’ to Nevill Hall Hospital over concrete concerns

Nevill Hall Hospital (Pic: Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - NHS Wales)

HEALTH chiefs in Gwent have stressed their “commitment” to a hospital where crumbling concrete has been found.

But a warning has also been issued that disruption, as staff and services are moved from areas affected by the problematic RAAC concrete which is at risk collapsing, will pose a challenge for operating the Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny.

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board’s September meeting was told it had identified that RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) was present at the 1960s-built hospital through a desktop study initiated in February 2022. 

It has been managing the problem, which is only present at single-storey flat roof buildings, either by propping up roofs or additional timber support, including in the hospitals kitchens. No wards at the hospital contain RAAC. 

Hannah Evans, the board’s director of planning, updated the board on the work to address the issue and said: “It’s really important we restate our commitment to Nevill Hall. We are developing a beautiful new satellite radiotherapy unit there.” 

She said the board doesn’t intend repairing buildings on a “like-for-like basis” as it involves investing in old estate and is currently looking on a “service by service” basis to develop plans to move staff and services out of the RAAC affected areas. 

But chief operating officer Leanne Watkins said those buildings included departments such as pharmacy, pathology and radiology that house “key equipment” which she said would be a “key challenge” for the hospital. 

She also said the surveys conducted to investigate RAAC had also picked up other maintenance issues which the board will need to address. 

The board has already spent around £250,000 this year on addressing RAAC problems and has estimated costs could run to £5 million but is considering how best to use the site and what repairs are required. Ms Evans said any proposed changes would be brought back to the board.