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Fears parts of Highland hospitals contain faulty concrete at risk of collapse

By Scott Maclennan

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Caithness General Hospital.
Caithness General Hospital.

Some critical Highland healthcare sites have some sections of their buildings that could be at risk of collapse without warning due the possible use of a certain type of concrete in their construction.

They include one area of Raigmore, two at Lawson Memorial, and three at Caithness General – as well those parts of Belford, Ian Charles, and Portree hospitals are also affected.

Both The Times and the BBC are reporting that NHS Highland has 25 incidences of the use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) – a material quite commonly used between the 1960s and 1990s.

Health secretary Michael Matheson confirmed that health boards across Scotland identified buildings that have “two or more characteristics which are consistent with the presence of RAAC”.

NHS Scotland fears the material is potentially vulnerable to what it called "catastrophic failure without warning" and recently Thurso High School was forced to close a block for the same reason.

But that is according to a desktop survey and the health board says on-site investigations are being set-up to "establish what if any risk or cost is associated” if RAAC is discovered.

A spokesman for the health board said: “NHS Assure have been coordinating a piece of work to establish which buildings within NHS Scotland could potentially have RAAC.

“During the process it identified some areas within our estate that could potentially have RAAC and we are now setting up onsite surveys to confirm that RAAC is present and establish what if any risk or cost is associated.”

If RAAC was discovered then the cost and the impact on health services at the facilities named below could scarcely be overstated, in some cases replacement buildings may need to be built.

The sites and sections of buildings that could be affected and are as follows:


Bruce Gardens Day Centre, block 1, Main Building

Raigmore Hospital, Zone 5 – contains: Café (Main Entrance), Cardiac and Interventional Suite, Children's Outpatient Clinic, Hospital Reception, Inverness Hospital Radio, Renal Unit

Badenoch and Strathspey:

Ian Charles Hospital, block 3, Boiler/Generator/Incinerator

Ian Charles Hospital, block 4, Garage

Ian Charles Hospital, block 5, Laundry

Ian Charles Hospital, block 6, Water Tanks

Ian Charles Hospital, block 7, S A - 2 rooms

Ian Charles Hospital, block 8, Sheds/Summerhouse

Ian Charles Hospital, block 10, Grantown On Spey Health Centre


Caithness General Hospital, block 1, Phase 1 Queen Elizabeth Wing

Caithness General Hospital, block 2, Phase 2 Main Building

Caithness General Hospital, block 3, Phase 2 Service Block

Caladh Sona Community Care Unit, block 1, Main Building (now closed)

Dunbar Hospital Thurso, block 2, New Out Patients Block

Dunbeath Health Clinic, block 1, Main Building


Lawson Memorial Hospital, block 1, Main Building

Lawson Memorial Hospital, block 4, 6 Rooms


Belford Hospital, block 1, Belford Hospital

Belford Hospital, block 3, Renal Unit

Belford Hospital, block 4, Offices, Staff Canteen & Accommodation

Invernevis House Main Building, block 1, Main Building


Portree Hospital, block 1, Main Building

Portree Hospital, block 2, Store

Portree Hospital, block 3, Generators

Portree Hospital, block 4, Laundry/Stores

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