Airedale Hospital, which is home to 3,500 staff and volunteers, serves around 200,000 residents in a large area which includes Keighley, the Worth Valley and parts of the Yorkshire Dales and Lancashire.
Yet it also suffers the ignominy of more roof leaks than any other hospital – and building defects risk compromising patient care according to Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore.
Constructed in the late 1960s, and opened in 1970, the hospital was built with aerated concrete which, according to Mr Moore, is “widely known for its structural deficiencies”.
This, coupled with the fact that Airedale has the largest NHS hospital flat roof in Britain, means the building’s physical condition is deteriorating at a rapid rate and buckets are needed to collect water whenever it rains.
And time is not on Airedale’s side. The original building’s life span was said to be three decades. Now, 50 years later, its condition is urgent and akin to one of its A&E surgeons treating a gaping wound with a solitary bandage.
It is further compounded by the fact that the Airedale itself is on a waiting list of its own – it did not even feature in then initial list of 40 new hospitals promised by the Government when funding becomes available.
As such, this newspaper endorses the campaign now being set up by Mr Moore, and others, to highlight the issue and implores the Department of Health to show far greater urgency.
And there’s one final point. Keighley was the home town of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the NHS fundraising phenomenon who touched the hearts of the world. What better way of honouring this icon’s life than committing to a new hospital now and naming it after Captain Tom?