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Fire safety works ongoing at Rotunda

By Catherine Reilly - 14th May 2018

Extensive upgrade works are required to address fire risks at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, the Medical Independent (MI) understands.

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is being completely renovated at a cost of €2.1 million and this work will incorporate recommendations from a campus-wide fire risk assessment.

As previously reported by MI, a fire caused by an electrical fault occurred at the NICU in April 2017 and resulted in babies having to be moved.

“The NICU is being completely renovated – cost €2.1 million – and incorporates recommendations from the fire report,” a Rotunda spokesperson told MI. “This will involve a complete mechanical and electrical upgrade to meet current standards. The medical trunking will be brought up to standard. The medical gas will also be brought up to standard and the hospital will be introducing cut off valves for different sections of the NICU as this was one of the issues highlighted; when the small fire occurred we could not isolate the room, the hospital would have to shut down the entire NICU from a medical gas perspective.”

On whether the HSE had allocated funding for the NICU renovation, the Rotunda’s spokesperson said “there is a commitment that if the Rotunda funds this project upfront that it will be reimbursed in 2019”.

Elsewhere in the hospital, upgrade works to address fire risks could cost up to €500,000.

The hospital received a campus-wide draft fire risk assessment on 30 November. The main points to be addressed are emergency lighting and detection, fire stopping, storage and housekeeping, fire extinguishers and signage.

The Rotunda has engaged Titan Fire to provide the hospital a specification to go out to tender for a consultant for professional services, who will project-manage the scope of works related to emergency lighting and detection upgrade works.

“The upgrade works campus-wide are hard to cost but [we] would estimate in the region of €300,000 to €500,000 to address. The hospital has also implemented the upgrade relating to fire extinguishers and signage.”

The Rotunda said it is seeking further resources from the HSE to address fire risks, but is proceeding with these works in the interim. The issue is considered a “high risk” on the corporate risk register and “we have no option but to proceed”, it said.

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