Grenfell Tower aftermath: Great Western Hospital sends cladding for fire tests

Written by Tony Millett on .


Last Friday (July 28) a sample of aluminium based cladding from one part of the main Great Western Hospital building was sent for fire safety tests.

In the fall-out from the terrible fire that engulfed the Grenfell Tower and killed so many, checks are being made on all NHS buildings.

The GWH cladding is from the bow-fronted part of the building and the courtyard. The cladding that has to be tested is installed around the administrative offices.  None of the hospital's wards, theatres or clinics are affected.

A section of aluminium based cladding from the Swindon Intermediate Care Centre - which is on the GWH site, but is owned by NHS Property Services - was taken away for testing on July 19.

With cladding from so many buildings being tested, it is not clear when the results will be available.

Savernake Hospital, which is owned by GWH, has been confirmed to have steel cladding, which is fire safe.  Steel cladding has also been confirmed on the four storey Brunel Treatment Centre on the GWH site.

A general fire safety inspection of the whole GWH site took place on July 7.  A full inspection of Savernake Hospital will take place on August 4.

If the cladding on the main GWH proves not to meet fire safety standards, it will almost certainly be the responsibility of the holder of the hospital's PFI contract to replace it.

Only yesterday it was announced that Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital was closing its trauma unit to in-patients while cladding was changed - and other serious fire safety issues were addressed.  

A fire safety report on the three-storey building noted that inadequacies in its alarm system and escape plan would on their own have led to closure.  The structural changes and new cladding may take up to a year to complete.