Widespread review of hospital cladding following Grenfell Tower tragedy

At least nine trusts told buildings at risk from fire following west London high-rise blaze

More than 30 hospitals across the UK are thought to be at risk as they are covered in similar cladding as that at the centre of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

The fire at the high-rise block of flats in west London led to the deaths of at least 80 people and has been attributed, in part, to the use of cheap aluminium cladding, which is thought to have enabled the fire to spread so quickly throughout the building.

Now, similar cladding has been discovered on other properties up and down the country, including around 38 hospitals and a number of care homes and health centres.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's not just social housing. I see it in private housing and, of course, schools and hospitals

While the NHS has not released the identities of those buildings affected, nine hospital trusts have been told their premises are deemed to be particularly at risk.

The Government has since ordered inspections of more than 17,000 care homes and hospitals.

And NHS Improvement said it is working with trusts amid concerns local fire crews are struggling to deal with the number of checks which need to be carried out.

In the meantime several health trusts have confirmed they are reviewing their buildings.

A spokesman for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said: “We have a limited amount of cladding in non-inpatient areas which we are currently testing as a precautionary measure.”

And Singleton Hospital in Swansea has ordered that cladding be removed and inspected as a precaution.

The health board said it would take 'immediate action' if flaws were found.

And cladding used on the recently-completed critical care building in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast is thought to be similar to that used at Grenfell.

The Government has appointed an expert panel to advise on immediate measures to make buildings safe.

It is made up of building and fire safety experts, including the chief executive of the Building Research Establishment, Peter Bonfield; the chairman of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Roy Wilsher; and president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Amanda Clack.

Announcing the appointment of the panel, Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “It's absolutely right that there will be an independent public inquiry to get to the truth about what happened and who was responsible for the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”

Following the blaze on 14 June, it was revealed that fire safety rules in Britain have not been reviewed for 12 years and have allowed contractors to use materials that could be deemed as dangerous.

It's absolutely right that there will be an independent public inquiry to get to the truth about what happened and who was responsible for the Grenfell Tower tragedy

Regulations for tower blocks, including those at many hospital sites up and down the UK, were also branded ‘convoluted’ and a ‘total mess’, creating loopholes which allowed the cladding to be installed at Grenfell Tower and other buildings.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, fire expert, Arnold Turling, said “This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's not just social housing. I see it in private housing and, of course, schools and hospitals.”

He said that while the cladding used on Grenfell Tower had been given a fire rating of low combustibility, the public inquiry into the tragedy would need to look at how the classification was reached.

Experts are now calling for a complete overhaul of fire regulations.