Hundreds of fire doors at Queen Alexandra Hospital ‘not robust enough’ and are now being replaced
HUNDREDS of fire doors at Queen Alexandra Hospital are not as ‘robust’ as needed – with a major replacement programme underway.
The problem affects 564 fire doors - a third of all doors at the Cosham hospital - and was discovered in February during maintenance despite them being installed 10 years ago.
Metal fire doors with glazed window panels were found not to have uniform markings on the glass - prompting further investigation.
Tests on some of the doors then found ‘the integrity of the glass on some doors was not as robust as it should be,’ a senior hospital official has admitted.
Chief finance officer Chris Adcock, who is responsible for estates, said: ‘We are taking swift and extensive action to protect the safety of our patients, visitors and staff.’
He added: ‘Our fire safety team has assessed the risk as moderate because the likelihood of a fire is low anyway but we have taken all the precautionary steps.
‘We are taking this very seriously but we would not want patients and the public to be unduly concerned.
Glass on 100 doors at hazardous areas, including store rooms and small kitchens, has been replaced with fire resistant board. This was done by April 19.
Replacement doors are currently being manufactured for high risk areas - with bosses insisting this will be done by May 19. Glass in other doors will be replaced by May.
While the 564 doors are being or have already been replaced it is not clear how many of the others are affected - and the hospital said some may not need to be changed.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has liaised with Portsmouth NHS Hospitals Trust and put in measures to ensure safety.
Steps have been taken to increase the level of response from fire crews if there is a 999 call made from the affected areas, with trained staff in the hospital carrying out patrols to monitor fire precautions.
Details were uncovered when The News submitted a Freedom of Information after concerns were raised within the hospital.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘I am pleased this has been picked up now but I will be asking why previous inspections didn’t flag this up.’
The trust could not confirm if there had been previous checks on the standards of the doors. The manufacturer of the doors is not known.
The cost of the works will be covered under PHT’s contract with The Hospital Company.
Fire service head of operations Rob Cole said: ‘We are working closely with Queen Alexandra Hospital in regards to issues surrounding the fire doors which were discovered by the trust’s proactive testing.
‘They immediately highlighted this to us and we have an agreed action plan in place with specified timescales and control measures.’