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Natalie Forrest alongside delegates from the New Hospital Programme and staff from Airedale NHS Foundation Trust standing outside the building

Natalie Forrest, the New Hospital Programme (NHP) Senior Responsible Owner visited Airedale Hospital last week, following the government’s pledge to rebuild the hospital by 2030.

Ms Forrest, along with other delegates from the NHP including Transformation Director and Chief Nurse Josie Rudman and Dan Hancock, NHP Finance Director, visited the hospital on Wednesday December 6 to meet with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust’s leadership team.

The teams discussed the plans for the new hospital and the New Hospital Programme team were given a tour of the current hospital, which included seeing first-hand the structural and logistical challenges the hospital faces because of the type of concrete it is built with.

The visit follows an announcement in May that the hospital, along with four others built almost entirely of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), had been added to the government’s New Hospital Programme. The programme is part of the government’s manifesto to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030.

During the visit they discussed collaborative working between the two organisations in relation to building a new RAAC free hospital estate. The teams discussed priorities for both organisations and best ways of supporting one another throughout the process.

‘Foluke Ajayi, Chief Executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome the New Hospital Programme team to Airedale to discuss the progress with our new hospital plans, and for them to see the challenges we currently face with RAAC.

“It was reassuring to hear Natalie’s support for Airedale and the team’s understanding of our need to complete the construction in good time, and their commitment to supporting us through the journey.

“We will continue to work closely with the New Hospital Programme as we work through the milestones to deliver our new hospital.”

Natalie Forrest, NHP Senior Responsible Owner said: “It was a pleasure to visit Airedale and see the site of the new hospital first-hand.  I was impressed with the planning that has been undertaken by the team to date, and look forward to working with them over the coming months and years as we deliver together for the community.”

The Trust has recently begun some surveying work including ground investigations, biodiversity surveys and traffic surveys, as part of their planning for the new hospital.

They also recently ran a survey to help shape the vision for a new hospital, which received around 500 responses from members of the public.

Further opportunities will be available for people to share their views as the hospital plans progress, more information will be shared on the hospital website at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust (airedale-trust.nhs.uk).