Hospital fire raises questions from MP
THE FIRE at Coventry’s University Hospital comes 18 months after a report revealed it was built ‘without proper fire protection’.
Coventry Telegraph reported on the fire earlier this week at the hospital, with Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson requesting an ‘urgent’ meeting with chief executive Professor Andy Hardy ‘to find out whether work identified back in 2016 has been carried out’. The report 18 months ago was based on a joint investigation by West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service and the hospital, and found that there were holes in fire compartment walls across the site.
The building, completed in 2006, cost £380m, and a report after that investigation estimated that fire safety work at the hospital and three others across the Midlands would cost £47m ‘and take two years to complete’. Mr Robinson stated: ‘Fire safety concerns have been identified two years ago and now a fire has broken out today. The question is could that have been prevented? Knowing fire safety concerns have been raised two years ago, we just need to find out if all the reported measures have been taken.
‘We know what pressures the NHS is under and the relationship with the private finance initiative developer, have they been quick enough in addressing all the fire safety concerns? We do not want to see a reoccurrence of this. I’ve written to the hospital’s chief executive Mr Hardy enquiring whether the work which was required at the hospital two years ago have been proceeded with and have been completed, and if not, why not. I’ve also asked him to please give me an urgent meeting on the fire this week.’
A spokesman for the hospital stated that the fire this week was not ‘connected’ to the ongoing fire safety work’, pointing out that the incident was ‘actually on an adjacent building to the main hospital site. It isn’t connected to the fire-stopping work. It was all external to the building, it was all self contained.
‘The fire-stopping work is all about fire compartmentalisation. It [the fire] was never inside the main building. The hospital is safe as today showed. There were no injuries. The fire service dealt with it really quickly’. In addition to the MP’s intervention, local councillor and cabinet member for public health at Coventry City Council Kamran Caan noted he had already had an ‘urgent meeting’ with senior fire officers’.
He added: ‘It is a great relief that only slight damage was caused by today’s fire at the hospital and that were no injuries to patients or staff. That is testament to the hospital’s emergency procedures and their fast action, along with the skilled response of our fire service. I have already held an urgent meeting with senior fire officers, who have praised the hospital’s staff for the way they followed guidelines and calmly took patients to safety, allowing the fire service to get on with the job of putting the fire out and making the area safe.
‘I’d like to personally thank everyone on site – the firefighters, hospital staff, patients and visitors – for the way they dealt with the situation.’