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Hospital fire safety under spotlight after Grenfell

The NHS has confirmed it is reviewing fire safety procedures in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy – and nurses are urged to report their concerns.
Mike Travis

The NHS has confirmed it is reviewing procedures in the wake of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London, as concerns are raised about fire safety in hospital buildings.

Unite health officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe warned that 43% of hospital buildings are over 30 years old, 18% predating the formation of the NHS in 1948, while the backlog of repairs totals 5 million.

Mr Jarrett-Thorpe said: I am deeply concerned about how safe the majority of these buildings are, and hope urgent reviews of safety and maintenance take place alongside updating staff on fire evacuation procedures.'

Liverpool Alder Hey Hospital nurse and RCN steward Mike Travis said he would like to see more safety checks carried out across NHS buildings.

Mr Travis said: I expect, as a matter of urgency, every trust

The NHS has confirmed it is reviewing procedures in the wake of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London, as concerns are raised about fire safety in hospital buildings.


Alder Hey Hospital nurse and RCN steward Mike Travis. Picture: John Behets

Unite health officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe warned that 43% of hospital buildings are over 30 years old, 18% predating the formation of the NHS in 1948, while the backlog of repairs totals £5 million.

Mr Jarrett-Thorpe said: ‘I am deeply concerned about how safe the majority of these buildings are, and hope urgent reviews of safety and maintenance take place alongside updating staff on fire evacuation procedures.'

Liverpool Alder Hey Hospital nurse and RCN steward Mike Travis said he would like to see more safety checks carried out across NHS buildings.

Mr Travis said: ‘I expect, as a matter of urgency, every trust to be reviewing policy on fire safety, staff training, evacuation procedures, and building regulations.

The Grenfell blaze has claimed at least 79 lives and discussion has focused on the type of cladding used in a 2016 refurbishment of the tower.

Review

NHS Property Services told Nursing Standard it was reviewing fire safety procedures in its buildings following the fire.

The organisation manages about 10% of the entire NHS estate across the UK – around 3,500 properties, including hospitals, GP surgeries, and offices.

A spokesperson said: ‘In light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we are further reviewing fire safety arrangements in line with best practice.’

A London hospital fire safety advisor, who has asked to remain anonymous, urged nurses with safety concerns should approach a line manager or their organisation's fire safety advisor 

‘If either of those fail to address their concern sufficiently, then they can contact the borough safety team at their local fire service.’

He added: ‘Back in 2008-9, there were five major hospital fires in London in the space of 13 months – no one would want a repeat of those days.’

NHS Improvement confirmed it is contacting trusts about fire safety on behalf of the cabinet office.


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