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BMJ-designed Covid care unit closed for urgent works

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Health chiefs have closed a BMJ Architects intensive care unit that only opened three months ago

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said the unit designed by the London and Glasgow practice would be shut to patients while remedial works were undertaken.

According to the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland website, the unit was due to open in 2019 as ‘the largest of its kind in Europe’.

However, it was not ready for patients until April this year, as the UK scrambled to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now patients have been moved to another site within the trust’s estate after undisclosed issues were identified requiring attention.

Newspaper reports allege that the London Fire Brigade found the new unit could potentially be unsafe. The reports also claim fire marshals had been stationed on site during the pandemic.

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement: ‘The trust has closed the new critical care unit so that it can complete the outstanding remedial work inside the unit itself, as well as rectify issues identified more recently.

‘Before the unit was opened in April as part of the trust’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of mitigations were put in place to ensure the safety of our staff and patients.

‘Remaining patients in the unit are being moved to critical care wards so that the remedial work can be completed as quickly as possible.’

The trust, BMJ Architects and London Fire Brigade have been contacted about the allegations of fire risk.

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