NHS leaders have been asked to arrange urgent fire safety inspections of all inpatient accommodation this weekend as the service steps up its response to the Grenfell Tower disaster.
NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey wrote to trust chief executives and chief operating officers on Saturday afternoon asking trusts to ensure local fire and rescue services had inspected their facilities “by close of play tomorrow evening.”
The request followed discussions between NHS Improvement and health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the email said.
Mr Mackey wrote: “I am requesting that we take further proactive and precautionary measures and instigate, with immediate effect, an inspection by your local fire and rescue services of all your properties by close of play tomorrow evening, to ensure that there are no urgent risk safety risks.”
A second email this afternoon clarified that trusts should ensure inspections are carried out on all inpatient facilities rather than the entire estate, “due to the rapid turnaround”.
Mr Mackey said some trusts had already undertaken a fire assessment, and said the request only applied where this had not happened.
He wrote: “Upon completion of this inspection, please confirm by way of letter (signed by both trust CEO and fire inspector) that this has been concluded, and whether there are any immediate risks that need resolving. We will then work with trusts directly where urgent decisions are required.
“We understand that it might be difficult to mobilise support from your end at such short notice, and so efforts are in train to ensure that these actions are also prioritised through Home Office.”
Mr Mackey also thanked trust leaders “for the enormous effort” that they and their teams have put in to complete questionnaires on fire safety, which HSJ revealed had been circulated last week.
A spokesperson from NHS Improvement said: “Following on from work carried out last week within the NHS and across public services, and at the request of the Secretary of State for Health, additional precautionary measures are being taken throughout the NHS to ensure the fire safety of inpatient buildings.
“NHS trusts take fire safety very seriously and we are working with them to ensure every possible step is being taken to protect patients.”