As you may have heard, on Thursday, 25th May the government announced a new Airedale Hospital in what was a landmark day for our area and one of the most significant investments announced for our community in decades.
Built 53 years ago, the original Airedale Hospital building is predominantly constructed from a material known as reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), known for its structural deficiencies. In fact, 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.
Plans for a new hospital were formally put forward to the government by the fantastic Airedale NHS Foundation Trust in 2021 as part of the Hospital Rebuilding Programme, with the extreme structural risk of the current building forming the main argument for a new hospital.
And now, funding for a new Airedale Hospital site has been confirmed by our Conservative government, with the hospital to be built by no later than 2030 on the same site.
After more than three years of tireless campaigning on behalf of residents across Keighley, Ilkley, Silsden, the Worth Valley and our wider area, getting the news that our area had secured a new Airedale Hospital was one of my proudest moments to date as Keighley & Ilkley’s Member of Parliament.
From the moment I was elected, I made it clear to the government that our area would never settle for the sticking plaster solutions of the past and that only a new hospital would suffice. That’s why I launched my campaign for a full rebuild of Airedale Hospital alongside the fantastic Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and why, in the years since, I have persistently lobbied the government at every level for this new hospital.
Whether that meant holding numerous on-site visits and meetings at Airedale, assisting the Trust in their proposals for a new hospital, organising parliamentary debates on the rebuild, personally lobbying the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, Health Ministers, and the Health Secretary for the new hospital, or even taking some of Airedales’ crumbling concrete into a key meeting at Downing Street— in politics, persistence pays off.
This announcement from the government is about more than just bricks and mortar; it is about the health and wellbeing of every person in our community. It is about guaranteeing that each one of us can access the care we need, when we need it, in a modern hospital that is fit for the future. Whether it's a broken bone, a chronic condition, or a life-threatening illness, we all deserve the very best care, and this rebuild means we’ll be able to provide top-notch healthcare facilities or our children, our grandchildren, and generations to come.
A new Airedale Hospital wouldn't have been possible without the incredible support of each and every resident who supported this campaign, demanding that our voices be heard.
And I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work of the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, as well as the incredible doctors, nurses, and staff at Airedale Hospital who go above and beyond every single day to look after over 200,000 patients across Yorkshire and East Lancashire.
But now that the funding has been secured, it is time for action. The government's announcement states that the new hospital must be completed by no later than 2030 and so time is of the essence. The real work begins now and I am committed to working hand in hand with the government and the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the successful delivery of our landmark new hospital.