The government have today announced a full rebuild of Airedale Hospital in what is being hailed as landmark day for Keighley & Ilkley and the wider area, with the hospital to be completed by no later than 2030.
Plans for a new hospital were formally put forward to the government in 2021 as part of the Hospital Rebuilding Programme. Today, funding for a new Airedale Hospital on the same site was confirmed
in a statement to the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Stephen Barclay.
The Health Secretary stated that the announcement “delivers on the government’s commitment to address RAAC issues in our hospitals”, with the Health Secretary commending local MP Robbie Moore “for his longstanding campaign for a new Airedale Hospital."
Keighley and Ilkley’s MP Robbie Moore, who first launched the campaign for a new Airedale Hospital alongside the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, has been campaigning for a full rebuild of Airedale Hospital since his election in 2019, highlighting the extreme structural risk profile of the hospital to government officials.
The structural risk of the current building formed the main argument for a new hospital. Built 53 years ago, the Airedale Hospital was predominantly constructed from reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), a material known for its structural deficiencies. RAAC was found to be present in over 50,000 panels in the hospital - five times more than any other hospital in the United Kingdom – with Airedale being the only NHS site in the country to have aerated concrete in its floor panels, walls and ceiling. Inspections of the hospital also found over 500 incidents of structural failure caused by RAAC, including over 30 cracked panels and falling debris. The Hospital currently has wards closed due to structural risk and the associated structural failure.
The announcement from the government comes after “years of tireless campaigning” from local MP Robbie Moore, who publicly called the campaign his “number one priority” and earlier this year told BBC Politics North he wanted to be “held accountable” for securing a rebuild. Throughout the last three years, Mr Moore has met with the Chancellor, the Heath Secretary and the Minister in charge of Hospital Rebuilding on numerous occasions, including raising the matter directly with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons and at meetings in Number 10 Downing Street.
The MP previously secured a personal debate on the rebuild of Airedale Hospital in Parliament and last summer took a piece of Airedale’s crumbling concrete into a key Downing Street meeting with the Prime Minister and key officials. House of Commons records also show [i] that Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore has raised his demands for a new Airedale Hospital in Parliament more than any MP in history (18 times), with the town’s former MP raising the hospital just four times (Source: Hansard).
Mr Moore called the announcement “one of the most significant investments announced for our community in decades” adding that he made it clear to Health Leaders that “our town would never settle for sticking plaster solutions and only a new hospital will do”.
With the funds now secured for a new Airedale Hospital, the MP has now vowed to focus his attention on working with the government and the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the new hospital is delivered at speed.
Robbie Moore MP said: “Today is a landmark day for Keighley and Ilkley and one of the most significant investments announced for our community in decades. A new Airedale Hospital will make an unprecedented difference to the lives of so many across our community for generations to come. Since being elected, I have campaigned tirelessly on this issue, alongside the fantastic Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Having visited the hospital many times for meetings over the last few years, I have seen first-hand just how bad the structural condition is, and that’s why I made it my number one priority.
From the moment I was elected as Keighley and Ilkley’s Member of Parliament, I made it absolutely clear to government on numerous occasions that our town would never settle for sticking plaster solutions and only a new hospital will do. It is why I launched my campaign for a full rebuild of Airedale Hospital as soon as I became your MP, and why in the years since, I have persistently lobbied the government at every level for a full rebuild. This has involved holding numerous on-site visits and meetings at Airedale, assisting the Trust in their proposals for a new hospital, securing my own parliamentary debate for the rebuild and personally lobbying the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, Health Ministers, and the Health Secretary for the new hospital – even taking some of Airedales’ crumbling concrete into a key meeting at Downing Street.
With the money now secured, now is the time for delivery. With today’s announcement stating the new hospital must be completed by no later than 2030, time is of the essence. Now the real work begins, and I look forward to working with the government and the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to ensure that the delivery of our landmark new hospital is a complete success.”
Secretary of State for Health, Rt. Hon Stephen Barclay said: "As a RAAC hospital, Airedale Hospital’s infrastructure was identified as high-risk, and the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust bid to join the New Hospital Programme. Today’s announcement delivers on the government’s commitment to address RAAC issues in our hospitals, and I commend Robbie Moore MP for his ongstanding campaign for a new Airedale Hospital."