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has insisted that the Government’s target to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 will be met with some buildings in danger of collapsing being added to the scheme.

The Health Secretary told MPs that hospital buildings made from reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) are in need of urgent attention and are not considered safe to operate beyond 2030 unless work is done to ensure the safety of staff and patients.

Mr Barclay confirmed that five health centres with buildings at risk of collapse will be added to the programme, ensuring that the Government meets its target for new hospitals first set out in the 2019 manifesto.

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The Health Secretary said: “RAAC has a limited lifespan with difficult and dangerous consequences for the people who rely on or work in those hospitals.

“I know this has caused considerable concern to colleagues in this House to NHS staff in those hospitals and to constituents who are treated in them. We remain committed to eradicating RAAC from the wider NHS estate.”

In total, seven hospitals in England have been constructed wholly or in major part with RAAC. West Suffolk Hospital and the James Paget hospital in Great Yarmouth are already part of the new hospitals programme but five more are set to be included: Airedale General in Keighley, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Hinchingbrooke near Huntingdon, Leighton Hospital in Cheshire, and Frimley Park in Surrey.

However, Mr Barclay admitted that “not all work” on the original 40 hospitals listed in the programme will be completed by 2030.

The government had put aside £3.7billion to invest in the project by the 2024-5 financial year, but that figure is now expected to grow to more than £20billion.

New hospitals have been defined as a whole new hospital, a major new clinical building at an existing location or a new wing of an existing hospital, or a major refurbishment and alteration of all but the building frame or main structure.

A recent report by the BBC revealed that work has started on seven of the 40 hospitals listed by the Government, with two already open and finished.

Mr Barclay said the existing schemes for hospital building “will all proceed, but the commitment to completion by 2030 applies to the 40 schemes set out today”. He added that this “meets our manifesto commitment to build 40 hospitals by 2030”.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said the Government is “over-promising and under-delivering” on its commitment by changing the goalposts.

Meanwhile, millions of people around the UK have been left on waiting lists for treatment as the NHS backlog continues to cause delays to appointments.