Oxford hospital receives enforcement notice

Oxford hospital receives enforcement notice

JOHN RADCLIFFE Hospital was handed the enforcement notice by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (OFRS) for a ‘catalogue of fire safety deficiencies’.

In August, the hospital saw one of its buildings evacuated after a fire safety report found lives were at risk, with 52 patients moved from the trauma unit. These issues included cladding, insufficient fire breaks between floors and vulnerable patients potentially being unable to get out quickly enough in the event of a fire. At the time Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) acted after receiving recommendations from a fire safety report it had commissioned.

This came after the Grenfell Tower fire, with OUH investigating all of its buildings, and the evacuation then necessitated finding beds in the hospital’s main building for trauma patients. Changes to that building were expected to take a year, with three other buildings identified as ‘needing further examination’ at the time including offices at the John Radcliffe, the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and the Peter Crick Building at another site.

Now, This is Oxfordshire has reported that an inspection by OFRS revealed a ‘catalogue of fire safety deficiencies’ at the John Radcliffe Hospital, with an enforcement notice served demanding it ‘make immediate improvements’. This followed the August inspection, with deficiencies found on Level 0 of the building including damaged fire doors, breaches requiring repair to fire stopping around services and cables ‘where they pass through walls’, and unauthorised temporary storage.

A plan of works was agreed with OFRS, with OUH given until the start of January to complete the work required, and the OUH also appointed two additional fire safety roles to ‘undertaken an annual review of all the trust’s fire risk assessments’. These two staff will also support fire training and give fire safety assistance and support.

Jacquie Pearce-Gervis, chairwoman of Patient Voice, stated that the report was ‘alarming’, and stated that ‘pressure needs to be put on the trust to make sure neither staff nor patient safety is compromised’. She added: ‘Why did the trust not spot these deficiencies and do something about them? It goes without saying that had OFRS not been called the consequences could have been very serious indeed. In light of the Grenfell Tragedy we need to be far more vigilante in ensuring people’s safety.’

Peter Knight, executive director at OUH, stated: ‘The fire and rescue service issued an enforcement notice to the trust in relation to a number of fire safety-related issues on Level 0. Level 0 is a staff only area and patients have not been placed at an unacceptable level of risk to fire. The notice was served on August, 8 with an initial time frame of 28 days, with an extension of four weeks when the trust demonstrated that a suitable level of progress was being made.’

The site also noted that three months after the evacuation of the trauma unit, OUH has ‘no further update’ on the progress of work to rectify the fire safety issues, or when they aim to move trauma patients back into their building.