In response to today’s announcement by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust concerning fire safety at its hospital sites, the University’s Head of the Division of Medical Sciences, Professor Christopher Kennard, has written to staff.

Professor Kennard's letter reads:

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London on 14 June 2017, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust conducted an immediate and thorough risk assessment of cladding on buildings at its four main Oxfordshire hospital sites, using specialist advisors.  As a result of this work the Trust identified four buildings requiring closer examination. On the John Radcliffe Hospital site; the Trauma Unit and a small proportion of the office space occupied by University colleagues, and on the Churchill Hospital site; the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM) and the PET/CT Crick Building.

There is no requirement to provide additional fire safety measures for the two buildings on the Churchill site. The Level 4 (Academic Centre) office area at the John Radcliffe will require new cladding to be put on the roof, but it has been deemed safe for continuing occupation while remedial work takes place.

You may well see local or even national media reports later today which confirm that the Trauma Centre at John Radcliffe Hospital is being closed to inpatients. This is going to be a very big task for the Trust to achieve in a way that minimises the disruption to patient care. Dr Bruno Holthof, the Trust CEO, has reassured OUH colleagues that while the trauma building has been found currently to be unsuitable for inpatients, the outpatient facilities on the ground floor, and office staff use of the building, is deemed to be safe. Interim arrangements are being put in place with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to keep the building safe. These will remain in place until inpatients can be moved to alternative locations within the hospital in the days ahead.

The University is liaising very closely with its OUH partners and I have already reassured colleagues in the areas affected that their safety and well-being in the workplace is our top priority. Colleagues throughout the wider institution can be assured that all of our residential buildings have been checked and no aluminium/plastic composite panels have been found. All buildings have fire alarm and detection systems with an immediate evacuation policy. Every building is inspected regularly with an annual fire risk assessment, weekly checks of the fire alarm system, quarterly fire alarm maintenance, annual extinguisher checks, monthly emergency lighting checks and regular fire training.