Senedd Members for Mid and West Wales, Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan have praised staff at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest for their work to support patients and services following the discovery of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) on the hospital site.

In response to a question on the floor of the Senedd on Wednesday, (September 13), Eluned Morgan MS provided an update on the current situation.

In August, Hywel Dda Health Board declared an internal major incident following extensive investigations which revealed that during its construction between 1973 and 1978, RAAC planks were used extensively in the build.

Subsequently, 6 in-patient wards have been cleared with temporary supports reinforcing ceilings in several parts of the hospital itself.

Earlier this week, the First Minister approved £12.8 million in funding for repairs to the concrete to make the hospital safe for staff, patients and visitors.

Speaking in the Senedd, both Eluned and Joyce praised staff for their efforts during the process of relocating patients, the majority of whom have been transferred to South Pembrokeshire Hospital in Pembroke Dock.

Eluned said: “I would like to put on record my thanks for the huge efforts that have been made by staff at Withybush to make that situation safe.”

Joyce said: “It is important to remember the £12 million mitigation funds that has gone into Withybush. It is right to recognise the work and the effort and commitment by all staff for stepping up and keeping services running wherever that was possible.

Withybush Hospital
Withybush Hospital (Observer pic)

“I’d like to thank the Chief Executive who called an emergency meeting of all politicians to let us know what was happening, that has kept us informed and updated as you have yourself minister so that we can understand and relay that understanding back out to the community and that is my request that we all play our part also, all of us, to keep people informed in such a way that we don’t leave them concerned about their situation.”

Eluned responded: “We consider this to be something we have had to respond to quickly, making sure our hospitals are safe is fundamental.

“We have had to find that £12.8 million, that 12.8million will now not be available to spend on the other projects we had hoped to spend it on, but there is an absolute priority to keep people safe.

“Yes, there is a need to keep the public informed as well and that is why I have been trying to give a commentary over summer just to make sure that people are reassured that we are on top of this issue, we are taking it very seriously.

“As I say this is not a surprise to us, but once we found the detail and the potential for danger, then of course we acted as soon as we were aware of it.”