NHS England has warned trusts not to compromise on fire safety when using corridor spaces to treat patients, amid growing pressure to accommodate more patients.
It comes as emergency departments face increasing pressure from national and regional officials to find more space for patients this winter – even when they are deemed full to capacity – to reduce ambulance handover delays.
The guidance, issued earlier this month, says trusts should complete new fire safety risk assessments before bringing any new part of a hospital into use for patient care, or extending the capacity of an existing area. It also said trusts have a legal duty to ensure escape routes are kept clear.
It added: “As we continue to find extra capacity in the estate by newly using, or re-using, parts of hospitals for patient treatment or care, or increasing the capacity of existing areas, we would like to remind you of how any change of use of areas may affect fire safety requirements.
“Under no circumstances must fire compliance be compromised on sites which have been changed.”
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Source: HSJ, 29 November 2022