I REFER to Jens Hislop’s letter regarding the construction of Airedale General Hospital (AGH) in the late 1960s.

He obviously doesn’t understand that at least AGH and a sister hospital in Cheshire were funded by the Ministry of Health, at that time, as experimental projects, each given a reference number before naming.

First of all they were to be constructed on economically purchased sites, secondly to be built using more economic materials (imagine the cost of a comparable stone/brick-built building). The estimated lifespan of 30 years or so, known at that time, has been considerably exceeded. The material used was called Siporex, developed in Sweden. Wrong materials were not used – it was experimental!

The comparison to York Minster is nonsensical.

The reasons for AGH’s “longevity” are twofold – firstly expenditure on maintenance of the original building, and secondly a paucity of Government capital funds to progressively reconstruct AGH. Hopefully this replacement has now left the starting blocks with the recent announcement but completion will take many years of design, planning and decanting on the site.

I was involved in the opening of AGH in 1970 but only as a member of the Yorkshire Regional Health Authority’s commissioning team with responsibility for the revenue consequences calculations for AGH’s funding. So I have some knowledge of its history.

W Ian Thompson, Newsholme

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