They've accused NHS bosses of deliberately running it down before it's closure next year, but staff have refuted this claim.
Councillors have slammed the NHS over the upkeep of a West Yorkshire hospital, saying they “couldn’t believe their eyes” when they saw its current state.
The NHS is planning to close Shipley Hospital next year and transfer its services to other sites.
They say that the building on Kirkgate is under-used, and last Thursday evening councillors were given a presentation of the plans by NHS officers.
During the fiery meeting, councillors accused the NHS of deliberately running down the 100-year-old building, highlighting the “disgusting” conditions they encountered inside. One even said he wouldn’t keep prisoners in there.
Bradford Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee had been given a tour of the site, including unused upper floors of the building that are not normally accessed by staff or the public, a few days before Thursday’s meeting.
Members spoke in shock at what they encountered on the tour of the unused areas, including a crumbling roof and overflowing toilet in an area that was meant to be closed off to the public.
They had had to use their phones as torches for part of the tour as there was no electricity in some unused areas, and they said rainwater had leaked through holes in the roof, down through the unoccupied floors into the ground floor physio area.
A member of staff was mopping the floor when the councillors were on the visit.
NHS staff refuted claims they had deliberately run the building down.
The hospital currently offers outpatient services such as radiology, physiotherapy, counselling and mental health services, including services provided by the voluntary sector.
But the NHS says parts of the building are not used due to fire safety issues. These are classed as “void” spaces.
Under the proposals, services would be moved to other sites, including St Luke’s and Eccleshill Community Hospital. The site would then be sold for redevelopment.
Councillor Robert Hargreaves (Con, Queensbury) said:
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I genuinely wouldn’t keep prisoners there. Walls are falling in, there is damp everywhere. It shouldn’t have been allowed to get to that state. I think you’ve let it rot so you can sell it off.
“After what we saw there is no way any of us here can say you shouldn’t close it – we can’t allow people who are ill to keep going there. It’s a disgrace. It seems like a job well done in terms of getting it off your hands.”
Councillor Martin Love (Green, Shipley) said:
“The place is in a terrible state, how was it allowed to get into that condition? If the Council did something like this we’d be strung up in the Telegraph & Argus about it.
“I saw it 10 years ago and it doesn’t look like a thing has been done to it. It does look like deliberate managed decline.”
Susan Crowe, who sits on the Strategic Disability Partnership, addressed NHS staff saying:
“I can’t put into words what I felt about this. I want to be with you. but it is so hard to do that – it looks like the place has been deliberately run down.
"I’m lost for words for how this is allowed to happen. You haven’t done your best to maintain the building.”
She claimed there must be squatters in the building, as one “unused” area had a toilet that was “full.”
She pointed out that travelling to St Luke’s for the same services might be two or three bus journeys for some residents.
Mike Dyson, from NHS Property Services, said:
“Areas of the building are in a poor state, we accept that. These areas are classed as void, so we will maintain them, but not at the same standard you’d expect from used hospital areas.
“We are doing our best to keep up, but these places will always look to be in a poorer state.”
Helen Farmer, Deputy Director of Contracting for the NHS Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“I can categorically say we haven’t deliberately let the building become run down. We have done a number of repairs over the last few years. I completely understand where you’re coming from, but it wasn’t intentional at all.”
A public consultation on the planned closure will happen in the coming weeks.