NHS bosses today revealed that cladding on London’s newest hospital building failed fire safety checks ordered after the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The £160 million Guy’s Cancer Centre opened last September as part of a vision to develop world-class cancer care at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust.
Initial investigations raised no concerns but subsequent checks found that rain screen panels on the 14-storey tower were made of aluminium composite material.
Similar materials are thought to have contributed to the spread of the inferno at Grenfell Tower, in which at least 80 people died on June 14.
Work to replace the cladding, which covers about 15 per cent of the exterior, is due to begin within weeks. The building, which has fire detection systems and sprinklers, will remain open after a London Fire Brigade investigation enabled the Trust to declare the centre safe.
Trust chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “We will carry out remedial work including the removal of cladding to ensure that we comply with the new Government advice, to reassure our patients and the public and to make sure that the cancer centre continues to reflect the highest safety standards.
“This will be done as quickly as possible in a planned and measured way, with work likely to start this autumn. The safety of our patients, visitors and staff continues to be our highest priority.”
The cancer centre, beside Guy’s hospital in London Bridge, was designed by Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners and healthcare architects Stantec, and built by Laing O’Rourke.
It received more than £30 million in charity donations, including £2 million from the charity of broadcasters David and Jonathan Dimbleby. It includes a private 53-bed HCA hospital on its top four floors and a “hub” of 70 scientists from King’s College London.
Government guidance issued last week states that aluminium composite material presents a “significant fire hazard” on buildings higher than 18m.
HCA said: “We are reassured by London Fire Brigade’s advice, following a thorough inspection, that the hospital is safe. We welcome the action that Guy’s and St Thomas’ are taking to remove the small areas of cladding, to ensure that the building follows the latest government advice and has the highest safety standards.”
Last month checks ordered by NHS Improvement found combustible cladding at North Middlesex hospital, King’s College hospital and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, part of University College London Hospitals. None of the cladding was found on inpatient facilities, NHS Improvement said.
Last week John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford was forced to close its major trauma centre for a year after the discovery of cladding