Hospital chiefs warn of climate impacts on ageing buildings

Health chiefs in Teesside say their older hospital buildings are vulnerable to extreme weather impacts.

A view of ageing buildings at the University Hospital of North Tees.

The University Hospital of North Tees is one of many organisations which has ageing buildings. (Photo: Wheatley Hill via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0)

By Annette McGill

Storm Ciara caused an estimated £20,000 worth of damage to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton and the University Hospital of Hartlepool when it hit the UK on February 10, 2020.

Now North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which operates both hospitals, is warning that the buildings, built in the 1960s and 70s, are at risk of further damage from extreme weather.

Storms Ciara and Dennis damaged charity buildings across the UK. While climate change is often associated with coastal and river flooding, this warning shows that older buildings are especially vulnerable to storms and extreme rainfall. Charity facilities managers should review their property assets with these concerns in mind.

Fundamentally vulnerable

Patients at the University Hospital of North Tees had to be moved out of a ward because of water ingress as a result of storm pressure. The Hartlepool hospital had roof panels blown off by the storm.

Mike Worden, MD of NTH Solutions, the Trust’s estates and facilities management company, said: ““The reality we face is that our infrastructure at both main sites in Hartlepool and Stockton is now significantly aged, they were built in the 1960s/70s and are now vulnerable to the ever increasing extremes of UK weather.”

Worden said: “Owing to their age, and despite the dedication of our teams and the resolve of the leadership to address the issues, our buildings are fundamentally vulnerable."

The NHS Trust has established a climate change working group in partnership with NTH Solutions.