10-Year-Old Coventry Hospital Building Has Fire Safety Problems
30 August 2016, 20:24
A West Midlands hospital, which is just 10 years old, is already facing remedial work after fire safety issues were found.
University Hospital Coventry was completed only a decade ago for £380 million under a private finance initiative (PFI) scheme, which sees firms fund and build public sites.
But it is now undergoing work because experts identified that structures that are supposed to prevent a potential fire from spreading "were not as robust as those specified in the original plan for the building''.
West Midlands Fire Service said it was working with the hospital to help bring fire safety standards up to scratch.
David Eltringham, chief operating officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, said: "Firstly we can assure our patients, staff and visitors that we remain vigilant in ensuring fire safety standards are maintained at all times.
"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 under way. Until they are completed, we have taken steps to strengthen our already robust fire safety procedures, including putting on additional patrols and increasing rubbish collections, as well as reminding all staff who work at University Hospital of our fire safety policies.
"We also alerted West Midlands Fire Service to the issue and have been working with them closely.
"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.''
A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman said: "We are working together with University Hospital Coventry and have an action plan in place for upgrading fire standards.''
Construction firm Skanska, which was paid to build the hospital, said it had nothing further to add to the statement issued by the Trust.