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Hospital cladding investigation instigated by HSE

A HSE spokesperson confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI) that following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, which took place in London on 14 June 2017, HSE Estates has sought to identify all buildings that have cladding-type systems installed.

An expert group has been established which is, at present, evaluating all available information in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire and similar type cladding systems in Ireland.

The group is identifying the legislative requirements for cladding systems in Ireland; identifying different cladding-type systems installed on healthcare buildings in Ireland; and is developing an inspection methodology that will be used to evaluate the identified cladding systems.

A sample number of sites have been chosen initially for inspections by the expert group. These inspections will inform the final evaluation methodology, which will be applied in the inspection programme.

In response to a parliamentary question on the subject by Fianna Fáil TD Mr Thomas Broughan, the HSE stated preliminary indications suggest the cladding used in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, is not combustible.

However, all the buildings on the Beaumont site will be evaluated according to the evaluation methodology once it is devised.

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred at the 24-storey block of public housing flats in North Kensington, London, UK.

The fire caused at least 80 deaths and over 70 injuries, although a definitive death toll is not expected until at least 2018.

The rapid growth of the fire is believed to have been accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding, which is of a common type in widespread use.

The HSE spokesperson told MI that fire safety is a primary focus for the Executive. 

The HSE Estates Directorate has completed comprehensive fire safety risk assessments on all premises where it delivers 24-hour care.

The assessments have been completed by external fire safety consultants to an agreed methodology developed by the HSE Estates Directorate.

From the assessments completed, the HSE Estates Directorate formulates a programme of fire safety works in each of its facilities that deals with both passive and active fire safety issues identified and prioritised through the fire safety risk assessment process.

An example of these works are: Replacing and upgrading fire detection and alarm systems; replacing emergency lighting systems that are at end-of-life; installing passive fire safety systems on compartment lines; replacing hand-held fire-fighting equipment; and the provision of new evacuation equipment.

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