Health services moved over fears roof could be unstable
- Credit: Google
Health services have been forced to relocate from a centre in Haverhill due to concerns over the stability of the roof.
All tenants have moved out of Haverhill Health Centre in Camps Road after a recent survey found Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) panels in the roof - a problem affecting NHS sites across the country including West Suffolk Hospital.
Structural support props have been installed while plans get underway to replace the roof, an NHS spokesperson said.
About 20 medical services and administrative teams run by West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust are among those to vacate the building.
While some of the trust's services will remain in Haverhill in the interim, including antenatal and postnatal appointments, others, such as dermatology, have temporarily relocated to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
A spokesperson for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said they had begun communicating the changes with patients and all would be made aware before their next appointment.
The spokesperson said: "While NHS Property Services undertake significant maintenance works at the Haverhill Health Centre, we have taken the decision to relocate our services to minimise disruption to patients and staff in the longer term.
"The majority of services have been relocated in Haverhill, while some specialist services have temporarily relocated to the West Suffolk Hospital.
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"The trust continues to research potential locations that will enable services to be co-located in the future, to ensure we continue to meet the health and care needs of the Haverhill community.”
A spokesperson for NHS Property Services said the RAAC panels were discovered in the roof of Haverhill Health Centre as part of a programme to identify properties where this building material could potentially be in situ.
RAAC was used as a construction material from the 1950s, including in many public buildings, but the sudden collapse of a flat roof at a school in Essex prompted checks at hospitals and schools.
The spokesperson for NHS Property Services said: "As always, the safety of patients, staff and visitors is our top priority.
"The NHS Property Services team is working hard to ensure the thorough and timely maintenance of Haverhill Centre and we are committed to delivering a prompt resolution for our tenants."
They said the additional structural support props were an extra safety measure and undergo regular safety inspections, along with the planks.
They added: "While the maintenance work is underway at Haverhill, all tenants have chosen to relocate from the building until the roof replacement is complete.
"Clinical services will therefore not be provided from Haverhill Health Centre during this time, and patients will be contacted shortly by their service providers with details of where their services will be provided until the maintenance works are complete."
Community mental health teams have also had to temporarily relocate from the building.
Amy Eagle, chief operating officer at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "To keep staff and patients safe we have relocated our community mental health teams to Bury St Edmunds.
"To limit the impact on people in Haverhill we are continuing to provide care in people’s homes and virtually where it is appropriate."
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is in the early stages of planning for a new West Suffolk Hospital, with an outline planning application due to be submitted in early 2022.