The crumbling roof of West Suffolk Hospital will be replaced with an entirely new building before scheduled repairs finish, new information reveals.

NHS England has recently announced that crumbling hospital roofs - with some being held up by poles and planks - are not set to be replaced until 2035.

However, West Suffolk Hospital has revealed that the damaged parts of its buildings will be replaced by a brand new hospital before the proposed repairs even finish.

The 13-year timeframe for repairs was discovered by a freedom of information request submitted by the Liberal Democrats to NHS England.

Of 32 hospital buildings known to be built with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has two.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust revealed that plans for the new West Suffolk Hospital in Hardwick Manor are due to be completed "in the latter half of this decade".

This means that a brand new hospital would be built at least five years before the repairs.

A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are in the early stages of our journey to design and build a new hospital which aims to replace the existing RAAC estate on Hardwick Lane. We remain on track to complete this work in the latter half of this decade.

"We are well advanced in undertaking significant and planned estates maintenance programmes to support our RAAC infrastructure, and a rolling programme to regularly monitor and check the planks, using the latest research and technology, will remain in place until we move to a new hospital site."

The new West Suffolk Hospital was picked by the government as one of 40 to be built before 2030.

It will be created in a mature parkland setting covering an area of up to 100,000 square metres, plus a multi-storey car park, while Hardwick Manor will be converted for hospital uses.

In the planning application for the new project it was noted that the current hospital, which opened in the early 1970s, is "approaching the end of its serviceable life".

What's the problem with West Suffolk Hospital?

RAAC was a commonly used building material for large structures from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, but now construction expert Dr Saul Humphrey says problems are emerging with those some of those buildings.

Dr Humphrey said: "The method of construction made the concrete lighter, and contain more air bubbles which make the structure lighter and give it better thermal properties.

"A good comparison is an Aero chocolate bar.

"It was initially perceived to be a structure that would span further because it was lighter. Unfortunately, it has been found to be quite weak. And, most notably at King's Lynn, some failures have occurred.

"Now that we know that these slabs are cracking and failing, one starts to wonder if there's even a risk of complete collapse."

Dr Humphrey added: "Ultimately, they need replacing. There doesn't seem to be a solution yet where you can repair them. They need removing and replacing.

"If you're taking the roof off a building it's pretty invasive stuff. And if it's an operating hospital, it almost pushes you to the conclusion that it's easier to build a new one than it is to repair the whole roof of old buildings, which are so flawed."