FEARS that Airedale Hospital will have to close in the future on safety grounds have been aired with a plea to the government for hundreds of millions of pounds in funding for a re-build.

At a recent meeting the hospital’s chef executive, Brendan Brown, chief executive of the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust gave a presentation regarding concerns about the long term structural integrity of Airedale Hospital.

The presentation to the Scrutiny of Health Mid Cycle Briefing included details of ambitious plans for a rebuild of the hospital - which opened 50 years ago this year - with a vision to create Europe’s first zero carbon zero model and states the transformation would be completed without the need to move patients.

The sticking point is the funding needed, with figures of around £600 million suggested.

The concerns made in Mr Brown’s presentation relate to the type of concrete used in its construction. The majority of the site - some 85 pre cent - is built from Siporex, a form of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC ) which is one 20th of the strength of normal concrete and has been used in much of the walls, floor and roofs. The material had an initial life span of 30 years.

In a letter to North Yorkshire County Council’s Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee and including Cllr John Ennis, chairman of council’s scrutiny and health committee, Daniel Harry, the council’s democratic services and scrutiny manager said: “The Foundation Trust has not been included in the list of 40 hospitals prioritised for funding to support rebuilding and development by the Government. Instead, they will have to enter a competitive process along with a number of other hospitals.

“It is of note that Airedale is one of a number of hospitals built in the late 1960s and early 1970s that has this form of concrete throughout its structure and yet it is the only one that is not automatically receiving Government funding for a re-build.

“There is a concern that should the funding not be awarded through the competitive process, that the hospital would have to close in a number of years time on safety grounds and patients potentially (if there is no re-build or repair) be directed to Bradford Teaching Hospital or East Lancashire Hospital.

“The chairman of the scrutiny of health committee, Cllr John Ennis will be writing to the Government to request that capital funding is made available for the re-build of the hospital as a matter of urgency.

“Brendan Brown, chief executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, would welcome the support that you are able to provide in raising the profile of this case as local councillors.”

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has acknowledged the presentation and the plans to rebuild the hospital into a state of the art facility.

A spokesman said: “Airedale Hospital was completed in 1970. The new build will be slightly bigger than the current hospital based on the same number of patients / beds due to the regulations which require more space per bed

“We would be able to build the new build without decanting or moving services.

“The Trust is in detailed discussion with colleagues in NHSE/I and the Department of Health to explore options around future capital programmes and secure this funding for the long term. We are seeking interim solutions to address the currently identified issues.”

According to the presentation an alert was rained last may when a roof made of RAAC collapsed without warning at a school. Tests of the roof panels at Airedale show signs they are under structural stress through high deflections. Deflection increased the load from rainwater.

Plans for net zero carbon include wind power, solar canopies on car parks, battery storage, electric fleet and land use for additional solar generation. As a Smart hospital it would have intelligent buildings, automated delivery and collection of good, GS1 complaint and academic collaboration. Site opportunities include energy generation, growing veg, community space, a patient hotel, leisure facility and commercial sale or lease.

A backlog of maintenance is estimated at £584 million.

The cost of new build is expected to be a similar figure, depending on inflation.