Sheffield hospital building shut down over fire safety concerns gets all clear to reopen
A hospital building in Sheffield which was closed for two years due to fire safety concerns is set to reopen.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has given Sheffield Teaching Hospitals the green light to reopen the Robert Hadfield building, which had been shut due to concerns over fire protection measures in the walls.
The building has undergone a significant programme of remedial works to address the concerns raised and the Trust is now cleaning, equipping and organising the logistics of moving services and wards back into the building.
It is hoped the first wards will re-open in the next few weeks with the remainder to open during early Summer.
Kirsten Major, Chief Executive, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted that the Hadfield Building has now been given the all clear to re-open and would like to thank South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for their support and advice over the past two years to get us to this point.
"The safety of our staff and patients is paramount and so whilst it has taken a considerable period of time to get to this point, it was important we undertook the required work and be satisfied we had confirmation from the Fire Service it was fit to use for patient care once again.
"Our estates and clinical teams are now working on a phased return of services to the building and we hope to have the first two wards back open early next month.
"I would also like to thank all our teams here at the Trust for the work they have done to manage this situation over the past two years especially given the challenges of COVID-19.”
The Robert Hadfield Building was built in 2007 under the Private Finance Initiative. Following the announcement that it would close over fire safety concerns, there was outcry from the Sheffield Save Our NHS campaign, which branded the PFI contracts a ‘rip off’.
Catherine McAndrew, from Sheffield Save Our NHS, said at the time: “The Robert Hadfield Wing is a perfect example of the rip off that is PFI. By the time the contract is over, we will have paid the contract holders £122m for a hospital wing that cost £25.9m for which we have already paid £37m.
“It is an added insult that the wing had to close for not meeting fire safety standards despite the contract holders being given almost a million pounds last year to maintain the wing."
The Trust has worked with the PFI partner organisations who have been responsible for completing the remediation works.
During the period the building has not been able to be used, the Trust has not paid the unitary charges and NHS money has not been used to pay for the repair work.
Area Manager Simon Dunker, added: “It’s always a difficult decision to prohibit a building, particularly where it has the potential to cause so much disruption- but it was the right thing to do to ensure everyone’s safety.
"We’re pleased with the way in which staff at the hospital have engaged with our inspecting officers to resolve the issues we identified, enabling us to lift the prohibition notice.”