The issue of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been recognised as an issue within the public sector for many years but has been brought to public awareness by the recent school closures.
We know that many NHS buildings are also affected and last year this saw the reprioritisation of the New Hospital Programme (NHP) to include or move up the list those hospitals most seriously affected.
So, is this something that primary care providers need to be concerned about?
Both Community Health Partnerships (CHP)and NHS Property Services (NHSPS) have reviewed their estate for RAAC. It is not surprising that CHP have no affected buildings given their remit was to take on the LIFT buildings which in the main were constructed in the last 20 years. NHSPS does have responsibility for older buildings but found only three centres affected.
The difficulty with the primary care estate is that the majority of it is within private ownership and much of it owned by the GP partners. NHS England has issued guidance recommending that premises are surveyed to assess the risk if this is not already known.
Whilst the likelihood is that RAAC is only used in a small minority of primary care facilities the pressure on those facilities means that the closure of one surgery in an area can have a significant detrimental effect on the ability to provide services.
This issue is compounded by the fact that the primary care estate is known to be, in the main, in poor condition and subject to long term under investment. The BMA has called for a centrally funded solution to RAAC for all affected primary care premises.
Do get in touch if you'd like to discuss any of the issues raised here. NHS England is seeking assurance over the state of the primary care estate in the wake of the ongoing crisis involving crumbling concrete.
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