Bucks hospital under ‘structural integrity’ investigation after persistent 'low levels' of funding

An investigation into the ‘structural integrity’ of a hospital is underway – and likely to last for “at least another year”.

By Rory Butler
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 3:21 pm

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) said repairs to Wycombe Hospital could go on for at least another 12 months, after scaffolding and green netting was recently put up.

It said the work is necessary while it investigates the “structure of the tower block”.

Vast scaffolding and “crash decks” currently encase the entire main building on Queen Alexandra Road.

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Wycombe Hospital

In 2019, Wycombe MP Steve Baker referred to the hospital as an “increasingly tired 1960s tower block” and invited then-health secretary, Matt Hancock along to discuss its future, in light of a £33.9 billion Health Infrastructure Plan ‘boost’ by 2023/24.

And, at the time, CEO for BHT, Neil McDonald said Bucks’ hospitals needed more funding, adding the trust had been relying on “ageing” technology and had put off maintenance to its buildings.

“At BHT, increasingly low levels of capital funding and a focus on reducing expenditure in the face of an increasing and steadily ageing population has meant we’ve had to make tough choices about how we manage our finances,” the CEO said at the time.

“These tough decisions have often driven us to continue to be reliant on ageing diagnostic equipment, and put off overdue maintenance work adding to sizeable maintenance backlog.”

BHT said the investigation is “ongoing” and that the repairs do not require planning permission.

It apologised for any inconvenience.

“Wycombe Hospital is undergoing basic repairs which do not require a planning application,” a BHT spokesman said.

“The scaffolding is there for safety whilst we investigate the structure of the tower block.

“The netting and crash decks are there to protect the public and staff and enable them to continue accessing and using the building.

“The scaffolding will remain in place for at least another year while the investigations are ongoing.

“We’d like to apologise for any inconvenience this might cause our neighbours and thank the public for their continued understanding.”

Wycombe Hospital was built in three phases throughout the 1960s and 70s.

The first phase started in 1963, while the second, which provided an A&E department with outpatient beds, and X-ray, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and medical records departments, was finished in 1969.

In 1971 phase three was completed.