Extra precautions have been taken to ensure safety at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after the building was named as one potentially at risk due to concrete planks used in its construction.
The King’s Lynn hospital’s chief executive Caroline Shaw said there are no “immediate causes for concern” following a safety alert from the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) after an Essex school roof collapsed.
Similar materials had been used at the QEH and Mrs Shaw said: “The QEH is 40 years old, during which time there has been little investment to allow the scale of modernisation and upgrades required.
“The hospital was given a predicted lifespan of 30 years, as per other Best Buy Hospitals constructed at the time. While it is clear that minor fixes and repairs are no longer sufficient, we will continue to use this hospital for as long as is possible even as we prioritise developing a case for national capital investment in the QE (including for a new roof) and for medium-term funding for the redevelopment and modernisation of the whole site.
“The trust has a regular programme of planned maintenance to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, and this programme has not identified any immediate causes for concern.
“Furthermore, in response to the safety alert from the SCOSS which reported one sheer plank failure in a non-NHS site built of similar material and construction to QEH’s roof, the trust has taken additional actions and precautions to ensure safety, including mapping every plank across the organisation and seeking advice from an external structural engineer to support our inspection work; both of which have not changed the predicted life-expectancy of our building (2035).”
The situation will be monitored and the case for upgrading or replacing the roof accelerated, Mrs Shaw added.