latest health care news

05.07.17

Cladding samples fail safety tests on buildings at three trusts

Samples of cladding similar to the material on Grenfell Tower taken from the buildings of three separate NHS providers have failed combustibility tests.

Last week, NHS Improvement (NHSI) announced that up to 38 hospitals had aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding in place with characteristics similar to the Kensington high-rise on their buildings. In these 38 organisations, 24-hour fire safety warden patrols have now been put in place.

But the regulator has now revealed that on a number of buildings the cladding has failed combustibility tests, meaning they are more likely to catch fire.

The cladding was found on an office building at King’s College Hospital NHS FT, a building owned by Sheffield Children’s NHS FT and a building at North Middlesex University NHS Trust.

A spokeswoman for NHSI said: “Patient safety is paramount. There will be no disruptions to patient services or continuity of care.”

The three organisations have already started to carry out work to ensure that the buildings which failed the tests were safe.

At King’s College, the trust has removed the cladding as a precautionary measure, and confirmed that the building was not used by patients.

Sheffield Children’s NHS FT also stated that the affected building was not used for inpatient accommodation, but it did confirm that measures were being put in place to ensure the safety of the building while the ACM is removed.

And North Middlesex University said that the building did not house any inpatients, although the cladding was taken from the main building which included the main outpatient, day surgery, link corridors and office facilities. It also said that alerting systems had been checked, and inspectors had made sure that firefighting equipment was available and accessible.

NHSI added that 19 trusts would not need to take any action at this stage after their testing, whilst a further 11 didn’t need to take action as the material sampled was not ACM cladding. An additional five organisations are still awaiting combustibility test results from the Building Research Establishment, the results of which are expected to be announced imminently.

Top Image:  Ik Aldama, DPA, PA Images

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