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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Leeds General Infirmary faces multi-million-pound repair bill after storms caused roof leaks

An NHS trust faces a repair bill running into millions of pounds after storms caused roof leaks and the collapse of ceilings in an ageing hospital wing.

New roofing will be installed at the Brotherton Wing of Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) after staff had to use containers to gather falling water.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH) said patients were moved to other parts of the hospital after weather damage caused a safety risk in the wing, which was built in the 1940s.

The trust said repairs would cost several millions of pounds, but declined to give an exact figure as contractors are sought to carry out the work.

Craige Richardson, director of estates and facilities, said: “The trust, like many organisations across the NHS, has a significant maintenance backlog, with large parts of the LGI site spanning as far back as Victorian times.

“There have been a number of modifications made to the building over time to maintain it, but the extremely bad weather at the end of last year has had a significant impact and caused it to deteriorate.”

The repair spending was agreed at a meeting of the trust board yesterday (25 January). A risk register report to the meeting said electrical circuits were being isolated in the wing as attempts were made to prevent water from getting in.

Mr Richardson said: “Our main priority in this situation is to ensure our staff and patients are safe.

“Last year, we moved clinical areas affected by the deterioration to new areas within the LGI site and we have put temporary arrangements in place to make the building safe.

“The trust board has now approved investment into the building, which will provide it with the essential update over the coming months.”

The risk register report gave £7m as the estimated repair cost, but Mr Richardson said a procurement exercise would decide the actual amount. He added: “We now expect this to be lower than that figure.”

Longer-term modernisation plans have been drawn up for LGI which include a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, a new adults’ hospital and one of the biggest single-site maternity centres in the UK.

It emerged that a separate £27m planned extension at Chapel Allerton Hospital, designed to ease waiting lists in the city, has been shelved after the government withdrew funding.

But LTH said funding was in place for the LGI plan, part of a £20bn national improvement project.

Mr Richardson added: “The project is fully funded by the government and we are currently awaiting the go-ahead from the New Hospital Programme to start construction.”

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