By Bill Heaney
NHS patients and staff could be at risk from “crumbling” RAAC buildings, Scottish Labour has warned.
In a letter to the Health Secretary, Michael Matheson, Dumbarton MSP Dame Jackie Baillie has demanded urgent answers to a series of questions regarding the suspected presence of RAAC in 254 NHS buildings.
She warned that the foundations of our NHS are literally crumbling under the SNP.
Concerns over schools containing this dangerous concrete have dominated headlines this week, but we are still in the dark over the scale of the problem in our NHS.
In NHS Scotland 254 buildings are being surveyed to see if RAAC is present, but we still have no clear answers on the true scale of the problem and the Scottish Government’s plans to address it.
A desk based survey was initiated in December 2022 but it appears that physical checks have only recently started, months later.
Commenting, Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie, pictured left, said “Under the SNP the foundations of our NHS are quite literally crumbling.
“For years now people have been sounding the alarm on the presence of RAAC in public buildings, but the SNP appear to have been burying their head in the sand.
“They still have no clue what the scale of the problem is and no real plan to fix it.
“Patients and staff must be able to trust that NHS buildings are safe – the Health Secretary must urgently answer these key questions.”
Jackie’s letter to Michael Matheson was short and to the point:
I am writing to you to seek urgent answers about the risks facing patients as a result of RAAC in NHS buildings.
As you will be aware, 254 NHS buildings in Scotland are being surveyed for RAAC. This worrying news will no doubt be causing anxiety for staff and patients alike and it is imperative that they get the answers they need as soon as possible.
I would therefore be grateful if you could answer the following questions:
- When exactly was the Scottish Government first made aware of the risk of RAAC in NHS buildings and what action was taken when these concerns were first raised?
- When did the desk-based review finish and at what point did the physical survey commence?
- When will the current survey be complete?
- Will you publish a full list of the 254 buildings being surveyed, and will you subsequently publish a full list of any buildings where RAAC is identified?
- Are you concerned that any buildings could be at risk of collapse, and if so how many patients or staff could be at risk?
I look forward to receiving your response and I hope you are able to provide the answers the public deserve.
Humza Yousaf: On the NHS, a major study is already very much under way, led by NHS Scotland Assure. The desktop review exercises that took place showed that 254 buildings have two or more characteristics consistent with the presence of RAAC. https://archive2021.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=15420&i=131547&c=2511701#ScotParlOR