CORNWALL Partnership Foundation Trust is withholding rent payments to NHS Property Services to force it to take urgent action over fire safety.
Patients have had to be evacuated from two wards at Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital, because the risk is so high.
The Trust warns that if a fire did break out it would not be contained within a ward and would rapidly spread throughout the hospital within an hour.
The Trust’s spokeswomen said: ‘The current fire compartmentalisation at the hospital does not offer a confirmed one hour fire barrier, which means people on both floors would have to horizontally evacuate.’
Horizontal evacuation involves remaining on the same floor in a safer place until help arrives!
This is obviously much less safe than walking down emergency steps and exiting the burning building.
To make matters worse the work to make fire safety improvements to three wards (Lamorna, Hayman and Lanyon) will not be finished until after 2020.
The Trust said this was ‘not acceptable due to the risk of fire safety,’ and it has been forced to ‘decant patients from Lamorna to Hayman’ wards.
In the meantime the Trust has installed more smoke detectors and put extra security staff on duty overnight.
There were nearly 1,400 fires reported at NHS hospitals in 2017-18 according to data from NHS Digital.
Figures for 2018-19 will be published in October.
Last month, University Hospitals of Leicester Trust declared a critical incident after a small fire resulted in patients on several wards needing to be evacuated.
Meanwhile, fire doors at Glasgow’s new super-hospital are faulty in ‘many wards’.
The doors at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital are designed to swing shut automatically when the fire alarm sounds but there is said to be a ‘general problem’ with many not closing properly or in some cases not closing at all!
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed that some of the doors were faulty and insisted that they are repaired ‘as soon as possible’.