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31.08.16

£380m Coventry hospital built without proper fire protection

A major hospital in Coventry will need to undergo remedial work after it emerged that it was built without the guaranteed fire safeguards.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said that it had carried out an investigation following a review of the fire safety separation at University Hospital, Coventry.

This found that the structures to prevent a fire spreading are not as robust as specified in the original plans.

University Hospital opened in 2006 as part of a £380m private finance initiative (PFI) partnership between the trust and developer Skanska.

The trust and Skanska are now working on a programme of remedial works.

In the meantime, it has taken steps to reduce the risk of a fire by increasing security patrols and rubbish collections and reminding staff of safety procedures. It has also developed an action plan with West Midlands Fire Service.

David Eltringham, chief operating officer at the trust, said: “Following a review of the fire safety separation at University Hospital, we learned of some potential issues with the infrastructure.

“As a result of these issues, we immediately launched an internal investigation to determine if any further steps needed to be taken to make the site safer.

“This investigation appeared to show that, in the unlikely event of a fire, the structures to prevent it spreading were not as robust as those specified in the original plan for the building.

“We have worked with our PFI provider to develop a programme of remedial works, which are now underway.

“These extra steps we have put in place means we can assure patients, staff and visitors that the hospital remains safe while the remedial works are undertaken.”

Skanska refused to comment.

(Image c. Joe Giddens from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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