Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: I had no fire training – former mental health worker blasts trust after damning report into blaze

13:00 04 January 2013

Woodlands unit on the Ipswich Hospital site, where a fire broke out in a patient's room in October 2011

Woodlands unit on the Ipswich Hospital site, where a fire broke out in a patient's room in October 2011

A former worker today claimed during his 20 years at the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership (SMHPT) he never once received fire training.

It comes following an investigation into a fire at the Woodlands unit, on the same site as Ipswich Hospital, three months after it opened, in October 2011.

The report revealed mental health staff ignored a fire alarm eight times as a patient lay unconscious after setting light to the bed with a cigarette lighter.

In a damning report, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) found there were “systemic failings in the organisation and management” of SMHPT – which merged with Norfolk and Waveney in January last year to become the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

Among the failings identified by SFRS was a failure to provide adequate fire safety training for staff.

The former employee, who retired from SMHPT around four years ago and asked not to be named, said he was “not surprised” at news of the blaze.

“It is just a nonsense,” he said. “In the 20 years I worked at the trust I never had a fire drill. They didn’t happen.”

He said in his previous job he had experienced a big fire at work and so the stark contrast in fire training had concerned him.

He added: “I’m not surprised at what happened. In my opinion you need even more rigorous fire policies with mental health patients, because of their complex needs.”

Commercial director at NSFT Leigh Flemming said: “It is difficult for us to comment on anonymous allegations in the press. The trust does have a robust whistleblowing procedure, whereby staff with any concerns can contact us so that we can act on issues.”

Maggie Wheeler, chair of NSFT added: “We recognise that any shortcomings were due to an organisational failure, which left our hard-working staff not provided with the skills to deal with this incident.

“Between the fire and now, the new mental health trust NSFT has raised fire training compliance at Woodlands to 98 per cent and this will further rise to 99.6pc later this month. Fire training is mandatory for all staff.”

n What do you think? E-mail health reporter lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk

Related articles

2 comments

  • 1) Did the anonymous man highlight the lack of fire training? 2) Did he request that he was given fire training? If the answer is no to either of those questions, then he has not right to moan and point fingers, and is as culpable for the situation as anyone else who worked there. If everyone always assumes these things are someone elses responsiblity, then nothing ever gets done.

    Report this comment

    Emmy Lou

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • Hospitals and Care Homes are unique buildings when it comes to fire and evacuation techniques. History shows a fire doubles in size every minute, so actions of staff are vital in an building where people are unable to just get up and leave like a supermarket. Typical UK very reactive, and only prepared to invest in training because they must.

    Report this comment

    Leighton Williams

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A Snowdon Mountain Railway train leaves from the summit of Mount Snowdon, North Wales. Photo credit should read: Neil Squires/PA Wire.

A Martlesham man is angry after a booked trip on a steam train up Snowdon was cancelled due to an obese family taking up all the room in his carriage.

Some of the events are being held at St Michael's Church

Professional artists will be inspiring people to try their hand at drawing in a picturesque Suffolk town.

Alan Havers and Pat Kench cut the ribbon at Worlingworth community centre

Hundreds of people from a Suffolk village attended a weekend of free festivities to celebrate decades of fundraising for their community.

A 170-tonne electricity tranformer could cause traffic delays on Saturday as it slowly makes its way along the A12 in Suffolk. Photo by Liam McLoughlin, Collett & Sons Ltd

A 170-tonne electricity transformer the size of a bungalow is being transported along the A12 in Suffolk on Saturday.

The cannabis plants found at a home in Peel Crescent, Braintree

Essex Police officers carrying out a drugs warrant have arrested a man after discovering a haul of cannabis plants at a home in Braintree.

 
	Framlingham fireworks display

Organisers of a Suffolk town’s annual fireworks display say this year’s festivities will feature a “memorable” show with “unique effects”.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

Chinese backers yesterday signed important financial agreements connected to the construction of Suffolk’s yet-to-be-approved Sizewell C nuclear power station.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24