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NHS execs warned on fire safety

Deputy NHS chief executive David Flory has urged colleagues to immediately review their fire safety measures after a report from an NHS Trust revealed a high level of  “apparent mismanagement and lack of governance of fire safety issues”.

Flory said: “The report follows a fire incident at a hospital in October 2011, as a result of which the FRS had planned to prosecute the NHS Trust concerned.
The Department of Health decided to act on the FRS case, both to address the safety concerns raised and the issue of criminal liability following NHS trust mergers.

“Following an investigation into a fire at a hospital in October 2011, the local Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) felt that there was compelling evidence of inadequate fire safety governance and intended to prosecute the NHS Trust concerned.

“Unfortunately, between the fire and the conclusion of the report, the trust had merged with another, and criminal liability had not transferred to the new merged organisation. This resulted in the FRS being unable to undertake the prosecution.

“Having had this brought to the attention of the Department of Health, steps have now been taken to ensure this situation cannot arise with any future mergers/acquisitions. It should be noted that whilst it was fire safety matters that brought this issue to light, it could in fact relate to any other health & safety type incident.”

He said there were lessons for the NHS to learn from the publication of the report by theFRS, as many of the areas of concern appear to be issues that are easily resolved.

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