The ‘terrible’ scaffolding covering Wycombe Hospital’s tower will be removed next month, the NHS has said.

Scaffolding and netting were put up around the tower in October 2022 so it could be repaired.

The eight-storey 1960s building needs £80 million worth of maintenance work.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said this week that the scaffolding will be taken down at the end of March 2024 when the trust’s contract with Southern Demolition Co, which is maintaining the building, comes to an end.

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But with the scaffolding still up, patients have shared their experiences of visiting the tower’s intensive care unit and operating theatres.

Len Arthur, from Princes Risborough, heard loud building work going on in the tower when he was in hospital this week.

The semi-retired 69-year-old, who books gigs for bands in Wycombe, was having stents put in his heart.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It looks terrible on the cardiac ward. The room that I was in, the hinges were falling off the windows.

“It’s falling apart. Nothing ever seems to be working. You hear drilling, but it’s just scaffolding. The noise all day drilling, it must be terrible for some people trying to rest.”

Sally Evans said she didn’t mind the tower being covered in scaffolding ‘as long as we’ve got a hospital in Wycombe’.

She added: “They are absolutely wonderful here. I’ve had treatment in the bit with the scaffolding inside. It’s not the end of the world.”

Marcon Construction Ltd, which previously worked on the tower, said it had ‘crumbling concrete facades around the site’.

However, the trust claimed that none of its hospital buildings contained any of the notorious crumbling reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) which forced the closures of schools and other public buildings up and down the country last year.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “The Wycombe Hospital tower was a building designed and built in the 1960s with small, narrow wards, poor ventilation and theatres on different floors.

“Within the next five years the tower will not be fit for clinical use. With our board’s approval we have therefore begun to move services out of it.

“The scaffolding is in place as a precautionary measure, to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff.

“It will remain in place for the foreseeable future to help with a rolling property maintenance schedule of work and structural review.”

The trust said it had asked the government for up to £200 million to fund a purpose-built planned care centre for Wycombe.

It said it preferred this option than to keep spending taxpayers’ money to maintain the current buildings on its Wycombe Hospital site.

The trust added that it had ‘ambitious plans’ for Wycombe Hospital ‘regardless of government funding’.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have invested significant sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings – including £4.2 billion this financial year – so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care for patients.

“Trusts are responsible for prioritising this funding to maintain and refurbish their premises, including the renewal and replacement of equipment.”