There will be “no loss in capacity” at Royal Bolton Hospital while works are underway to remove possibly dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

In December last year officials discovered that the Minerva Road hospital’s maternity unit contained the notorious concrete that had forced schools all over the country to close.

But in response to questions put by Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, the government says that the hospital will not lose capacity while the concrete is removed.

Ms Qureshi said: “The further update on the RAAC situation at the hospital comes in light of the recent disappointing news that the hospital trust has been refused funds for the rebuild I feel is needed.

“This is not just any building where we can scrimp and save and cut corners.

The Bolton News: Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has asked about the state of RAAC at Royal Bolton HospitalBolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has asked about the state of RAAC at Royal Bolton Hospital (Image: Office of Yasmin Qureshi MP)

“I am grateful for the attempt from the Minister to reassure that there will be no loss in capacity at the hospital as a result of these works but I will be monitoring the situation very closely.

“There needs to be further reassurance that all funds will be made available to the Trust to ensure this has no impact on patient care and staff welfare.”

The refusal of funds refers to a decision taken by the government last year to reject a £100m bid to build a new hospital in Bolton.

This was despite the fact that repair funds had soared to £80m at the existing hospital building.

Ms Qureshi had put her question to the Department for Health and Social Care about the current state of RAAC removal at Royal Bolton Hospital.

ALSO READ: RAAC crisis now affecting Royal Bolton Hospital as collapse-risk concrete discovered

ALSO READ: Rejection of £100M bid for new Bolton hospital branded 'bizarre' amid £80M repairs

ALSO READ: Schools affected by RAAC no longer exempt from inspection this term

The reply from under secretary of state Lord Markham said: “Where new cases of RAAC are identified, trusts are onboarded on the national programme.

“In parallel, monitoring and mitigations are put in place where needed and panels will be removed over time.

“This process is now underway for Royal Bolton Hospital.

“Where RAAC is confirmed to be present in a hospital, even if it is in a very small area, trust boards will inform staff in line with guidance.

“Keeping capacity open but being scrupulous about RAAC monitoring and mitigation until the RAAC can be removed is fully in line with the current evidence and recommendations of the Institution of Structural Engineers.”