Lincolnshire NHS bids for fire safety funding
UNITED LINCOLNSHIRE Hospitals NHS Trust is bidding for £50m in fire safety funding ‘to bring hospitals up to safe standard’.
Lincolnshire Reporter shared the trust’s bid for government funding, with the aim of bringing fire safety arrangements ‘up to higher standards’. Jan Sobieraj, the trust’s chief executive, told the news source that the hospitals in the county ‘had suffered from decades of underinvestment in fire safety’, but in turn ‘reassured patients that the sites were safe’.
Mr Sobieraj believed that it would cost around £46m or £47m to bring the hospitals ‘up to safe standards’, with the hospitals including Lincoln County Hospital, Boston Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham Hospital. Before the Grenfell Tower fire, at the start of the year, the trust agreed to ‘spend around £3m of its own resources on improving fire safety’.
It is hoped that the department of health ‘would look on the application for funding favourably’, Mr Sobieraj added, ‘especially given the current circumstances and public mood surrounding fire safety nationally’, citing a recent fire at Boston Pilgrim Hospital ‘as evidence that the trust was keeping patients safe’. He also responded to a question as to why the trust ‘had not been complying with fire safety regulations beforehand’ by noting that the NHS had not put enough resources into it.
He commented: ‘This is a really important issue for us – it’s one of the biggest issues on our agenda. When I came into the trust 18 months ago, one of the first things I discovered was the trust has not invested enough over decades in proper fire safety arrangements. This is because struggles with our capital programme which is about improving our facilities.
‘Now that’s not to say we’re unsafe because there are mitigations in place. We want to be safe and safer. Patients coming in today are safe and our staff are trained to look after them. Because of our plans to look after patients, no patients came to harm [in the Boston Pilgrim fire].’