EXACTLY four years on from the tragic Grenfell Tower fire which sparked a national review of cladding on buildings, the John Radcliffe Hospital is replacing cladding to its trauma building.

It comes after the unit closed to inpatients in 2017 after Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust identified some cladding on buildings at the site that raised fire safety concerns.

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These included the West Wing, The Children’s Hospital, the Churchill Hospital and the Trauma Building.

Work is currently ongoing to replace cladding on the West Wing building, and previously a small amount of cladding was replaced at the Churchill Hospital.

Now, after a successful planning application to Oxford City Council, cladding is being removed from the trauma building, and is due to be completed later this summer.

A spokesperson from OUH said: “We are pleased that this project is underway and will continue to work on our ongoing programme for the building.”

The Trauma Building accommodates inpatients and treats those who have sustained physical injuries - usually of bones.

From 2017, patients were moved to other areas of the hospital and the Trust agreed with Oxfordshire Fire Service that it was safe for trauma outpatient clinics and administrative staff to remain.

Spanwell cladding panels currently wrap the trauma building with aluminium ribbon windows, but they ‘compromise’ Aluminium Composite Materials which were identified as a fire hazard.

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This cladding however is not the same as the cladding on the Grenfell Tower.

The panels are now being removed and replaced with Argeton Terracotta Rainscreen horizontal cladding, installed over fire resistant insulated backing panels.

They will be a mix of bright grey and volcano grey colours and wrap around the 4-storey building in an ombré effect.

We asked OUH why it has taken four years for the cladding to be replaced on the trauma building, particularly as it is where seriously injured people are treated.

An OUH spokesperson said in response: “Since patients were relocated from the trauma building to the main John Radcliffe Hospital, the Trust has been exploring several options for bringing the trauma building back into use for inpatients.

“We have had to make sure that any option was cost-effective and sustainable.”

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The cladding removal is currently ongoing, and is due to be completed later this summer, meanwhile cladding removal work from the West Wing of the hospital will start in July, with a completion date of December 2022.

Seventy-two people died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017 and more than 70 others were injured. The fire spread rapidly up the building’s exterior due to the building’s cladding and the external insulation.

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