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Fire exercise at St Marys Bridgehead
Trust Publishes Annual Fire Safety Report
07 July 2017

Isle of Wight NHS Trust has published its annual Fire Safety Report at the Trust Board meeting held in public on 5th July 2017.   The Annual Fire Safety Report covers the Fire Safety Management and achievements of the Trust each year.

Fire Safety Management is a crucial element within a modern healthcare setting. This helps the Trust meet the set Objectives (Quality, Innovation, Productivity, Prevention, Reform) and achieve the critical success factors in two key areas:

  • Quality (Patient Safety etc.); and
  • Productivity (Develop the Estate etc.)

Good fire safety management enhances the Trust’s ability to be resilient reducing the risk of major loss of critical healthcare buildings. There is only one general hospital on the Isle of Wight which would be a substantial loss to the community and therefore Fire Safety Management must be given a high priority and in some respects, a higher priority than for any mainland hospital.

You can download the latest Fire Safety Report from the Trust’s website at http://www.iow.nhs.uk/Publications/fire-safety-report.htm

In the light of the tragic Grenfell Tower incident there has been increased interest in fire safety in public buildings including hospitals.   NHS Improvement issued an update on the national position on 4th July 2017.   At the Trust Board meeting on 5th July Maggie Oldham, Interim Chief Executive Officer at IW NHS Trust confirmed the Trust’s position:

“Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower and the instruction to the NHS to review fire safety, we have asked for the support of IW Fire and Rescue Service to review property owned by Isle of Wight NHS Trust including St. Mary’s Hospital. We have no reason to believe at this stage that there is anything to worry about however it is important we get this view independently tested which will include cladding at the St Mary’s site.

“The cladding used on buildings on the St. Mary’s Hospital site is different from that used on Grenfell Tower. No sampling has been undertaken as assurances have been given by the manufacturers as to the fire resistance nature of the cladding used.

“We have upgraded our fire safety processes and systems over the years which include the upgrading of the fire compartments within the hospital to reduce the likelihood of a fire spreading rapidly throughout the hospital environment. We have a system of Fire Wardens, regular drills are held, all staff are expected to undertake routine fire safety awareness training and there are multiple exits across all buildings.”

Jon Burwell, Director of Strategy and Planning added:

“The Trust has a long standing working relationship with Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue and undertaken regular joint training exercises. We have now met with the Fire and Rescue Service who have provided reassurance that our current practice for fire safety is robust. Following our own review of documentation and technical guidance regarding our cladding and discussion with the Fire Service, there is evidence that the Trust’s external cladding is not of the material that was used at Grenfell Tower. We do not propose to undertake further testing of the cladding at this stage.”

NHS IMPROVEMENT STATEMENT

4th July 2017

All NHS trusts and foundation trusts have been asked to carry out urgent fire safety checks following the Grenfell Tower fire.

As of today, NHS Improvement has identified a total of 38 organisations that required support to carry out urgent checks to ascertain if they had cladding similar to that used on the Grenfell Tower.

All 38 ‘priority 1’ trusts have started 24-hour fire warden patrols. Of those trusts and foundation trusts:

19 have had fire safety inspections and a review of additional technical information supplied to NHS Improvement and no further action is necessary at this stage;

  • 11 are not required to take further action at this stage as the building material sampled is not aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding;
  •  samples of ACM cladding taken from three providers have failed combustibility tests; and
  • five organisations are still awaiting combustibility test results from BRE. 

The three providers that have failed ACM tests are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of those buildings and occupants, in line with updated fire safety guidance issued by NHS Improvement. Of these three providers:

  • a test sample taken from an office building at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust failed an ACM fire safety test. The trust has already removed the cladding as a precautionary measure. This was not a building used by patients;
  • Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is taking steps to remove cladding from one of its buildings following a negative ACM test result. The building is not used for inpatient accommodation and measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of the building while the ACM is removed. It is also taking steps to deal with cladding at a second site, which is still under construction and not yet in use; and
  • samples from a building at North Middlesex University Hospitals NHS Trust have also failed the ACM combustibility test. The cladded areas do not house any inpatients.

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

Notes to Editors

The 38 trusts selected for extra support by NHS Improvement reported having inpatient accommodation over two storeys, cladding or similar material and/or have reported outstanding fire safety issues. The number of 'priority 1' list of trusts will remain under review.

  • On Monday 19 June, NHS Improvement wrote to all NHS providers in England asking them to complete a fire safety audit.
  • On Saturday 24 June, at the request of the Secretary of State for Health, NHS Improvement wrote to all trusts and foundation trusts asking them to complete further urgent fire safety checks.
  • NHS Improvement will continue to support the 'priority 1' trusts while the wider NHS undertakes fire safety checks in line with the request from the Secretary of State for Health on June 24.

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