Campaigners slam probe into fire safety at Newham University Hospital

Newham University Hospital

Newham University Hospital - Credit: David Mirzoeff

Campaigners have described plans to pay a consultancy firm to probe delays to fire safety work at Newham University Hospital as "a scandal".

Newham Save our NHS welcomes works at the hospital in Glen Road, Plaistow, but asks why Barts Health NHS Trust needs to pay Deloitte for a probe into hold ups.

Alan Cooper, who chairs the campaign group, claims the delays result from a lack of government funding and not the trust, which runs the hospital.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Patient safety is our top priority and we are investing record sums to upgrade NHS facilities and buildings across the country.

"Newham University Hospital received £1.8million in 2020-21 for A&E upgrades and Barts has been provided with £4.6m for maintenance across its estate."

A Barts spokesperson said: “Patient safety is our top priority so we are spending £34m over three years to improve fire safety at Newham Hospital."

Barts has until March 9 next year to comply with an enforcement notice served by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

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In September, the LFB identified eight safety failings at the hospital, including over general fire precautions aimed at ensuring people were safe on the premises. Barts says the brigade has asked it to speed up the work.

But the campaigners questioned why Barts is to pay Deloitte "to ensure learning is obtained" from the enforcement action.

Group members allege the trust has known for years the issues are due to a lack of capital funding and say it is "a mystery" why Deloitte has been asked to investigate.  

Newham Save Our NHS say lessons should be learned from the "scandal" of delays. 

It also claimed it is scandalous NHS money is set to be paid to a private management consultancy to investigate.

Mr Cooper called on Barts to publish its contract with Deloitte and the cost to the NHS.

Barts' spokesperson said that in addition to the planned fire safety work, the trust has asked external experts for advice on how to ensure important maintenance is done in a timely manner in the future.