• Seven hospitals have been issued with fire safety enforcement notices
  • Some hospitals face costs running to tens of millions to upgrade buildings
  • Warnings issued amid concerns NHS trusts are not managing the risks

Seven hospital trusts have been issued with fire enforcement notices because of fears NHS trusts are not tackling the risks to patients.

Almost a year since the Grenfell Tower disaster a number of NHS trusts face spending millions of pounds to improve their fire safety.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust was served with a notice on its Lincoln hospital on the day of the Grenfell Tower fire, and also has one on the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. It says it needs £46m of capital investment to be fully compliant.

It has been given a capital loan of £36m from the Department of Health and Social Care and committed £6m of its own capital, but requested an additional £4m from the DHSC to complete the work by 2019-20.

Fire safety work at Peterborough City Hospital is not expected to be complete until February 2019, funded by the trust’s PFI partners.

Eric Fehily, associate director of estates and facilities for North West Anglia Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said that problems with fire separation infrastructure had been uncovered in late 2014 but the defects turned out to be more extensive than originally thought. The trust was served with a fire enforcement notice in 2016. “The work is ongoing and is taking place while the hospital continues to deliver its services to patients,” he said.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust had two enforcement notices served on Doncaster Hospital in June last year. Kirsty Edmondson Jones, director of estates and facilities, said: “In 2017-18, the trust spent £1.6m on improvement projects, and work will continue this year to ensure the safety of our hospital sites.”

The University Hospital of North Midlands FT was served with an enforcement notice after an arson attack in June 2017 which led to a patient death. The notice related in part to evacuation procedures after there were long delays.

Paula Clark, chief executive, said there was no suggestion the building was not compliant with safety standards. She said work was ongoing to prevent any spread of smoke in the future including adjustments to compartment and sub compartment walls, floors, service risers and ventilation systems.

She said: “As a direct response to the initial guidance from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, we changed the way we store materials in corridors, issued strict instructions around fire doors and updated emergency procedures and preparedness training for staff.”

Mid Cheshire Hospital Trust has had an enforcement order against its Leighton Hospital since 2009 and has spent more than £19.5 million. The notice relates to upgrading all hospital wards which the trust said was now two-thirds complete with seven wards yet to complete. The programme is expected to take until 2023. The original buildings were built in the 1970’s.

The other two trusts with enforcement notices are the George Eliot Hospital Trust in Nuneaton which was required to upgrade its fire alarm system and Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust which said it was working to improve fire escape arrangements.

A spokesman for the latter said the second phase of work will be complete in July.