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Safety fears close Evelina atrium

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The atrium of Hopkins’ award-winning Evelina Children’s Hospital in Southwark, London, was closed off this month after a ‘loose’ bolt fell from the roof.

The incident comes just one month after the AJ revealed that ‘non-compliant’ glass used in the building’s ‘exemplar’ four-storey atrium needed to be replaced (AJ 18.09.08) due to defective rubber seals.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust insisted that the latest ‘malfunction’ did not damage to the building – shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2006 – and that nobody had been injured.

A spokesman said: ‘A bolt came loose from the glazed wall structure in the atrium of the Evelina Hospital [and] although the bolt did not cause any harm or damage, we took the decision to immediately close the atrium as a precautionary measure. [We] brought in specialist abseilers to check that all other similar bolts are secure.’

Engineering consultancy Buro Happold was also brought in to carry out a ‘thorough safety evaluation of the atrium’. A spokesman said: ‘We will take the opportunity while the atrium is closed to carry out essential maintenance before it is re-opened for staff, patient and visitor use.’

Meanwhile, the hospital’s Starslide helter-skelter, designed by artist Liliane Lijn, has been indefinitely boarded off due to health and safety concerns.

Lijn told the AJ: [It appears] some kids have got friction burns, possibly because they have not been dressed appropriately or they may have tried to brake using bare arms or legs.’

She added: ‘It is always easier to close something down than to maintain and remedy problems that might arise from its use.’

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