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  1. ITV Report

Fire safety concerns at the Cumberland Infirmary

Photo: ITV Border

Healthcare leaders at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust have confirmed action is being taken to address fire safety concerns at the Cumberland Infirmary.

Following concerns over the estate and facilities management of the hospital by its PFI partner, the Trust commissioned an independent review into fire safety precautions.

Several problems have now been identified, including issues with the proofing materials used for the hospital.

According to the report, they"did not meet the required 60 minute protection standard to allow for safe evacuation and prevent any fire from spreading in the building."

This is not the first time we have uncovered such major flaws in the service provided to us through our PFI partner and the Trust Board remains very deeply concerned that the current arrangements are not providing the high standards of service we require for out patients in North Cumbria on a consistent basis."

– Helen Ray, Chief Operating Officer at North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust

The Trust claims it has already taken action to rectify some of the problems found.

Forty-four members of staff have been trained as "fire safety wardens" and an appropriate sealant is being applied around the tops of walls and the underside of floors to help contain smoke and flames should a fire break out.

But further work required to address the problems is not expected to be completed for 12 to 18 months.

During that time, the Trust has said it will apply for planning permission from Carlisle City Council to build a portacabin 'decant' ward at the hospital site.

It says this will allow patients to be safely cared for while the "necessary" works take place.

The safety and welfare of our staff, patients and members of the public using the Cumberland Infirmary is paramount and people can be absolutely reassured that we are taking all of the right steps to protect the wellbeing whilst they are using our services."

– Helen Ray, Chief Operating Officer at North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust

All staff, patients, and visitors at the Cumberland Infirmary are asked to remain extra vigilant a remedial world take pace to reduce any possible risk of fire.