MAJOR work is being carried out at Airedale Hospital including the reinforcement of crumbling concrete panels.

Much of the building was constructed – in the late 1960s – using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, which was found to have a lifespan of 30 years.

Airedale was recently added to the Government's New Hospital Programme, but it could be 2030 before the current Steeton complex is replaced.

Now phased maintenance and refurbishment work is underway, including the strengthening of the concrete panels.

The scheme also features car park improvements and the refurbishment of wards and clinical areas.

Twenty-two wards are included, and work is almost complete on three.

Crucial services are being temporarily relocated within the hospital to mitigate disturbance during the project.

Spearheading the work is Robertson Construction Yorkshire and East Midlands.

Its managing director, Jonathan Sizer, says: "We have liaised closely with the NHS trust to deliver the scheme in phases to minimise disruption and put patient safety at the forefront.

"Robertson Construction has worked in partnership with the NHS for almost 50 years, so understands the need to continually improve the patient and staff experience with better-quality environments. The works we are undertaking will provide a safer environment, and support Airedale Hospital in providing its essential services to the community.

"As part of our commitment to the communities where we work, we have also supported the area through the employment of local people onsite, procuring our supply chain locally where possible and providing 140 weeks’ worth of apprenticeships."

Richard Burgin – for AGH Solutions, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust’s estates and facilities subsidiary – says: "The work being carried out is very complex, with multiple areas of the hospital undergoing structural support work simultaneously.

"We welcome the clear and pragmatic approach Robertson brings to this work, helping us to minimise disruption to patient services."

* Airedale Hospital is sharing in £19.2 million of Government funding to boost bed capacity in the region this coming winter.

The funds will create 40 extra beds in the north east and Yorkshire.

Airedale has been awarded £4.1m.

Nationally, £250m is earmarked to provide 900 new beds in a bid to help relieve pressure on the NHS and cut waiting times.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said: "We know that winter is a difficult time so we’re working to get ahead of pressures whilst also creating a sustainable NHS fit for the future."