|WINWICK HOSPITAL WARRINGTON|
A further attempt to introduce more order into The Standard this week - the inclusion of a contents list.
As regards the contents themselves we have been including quite a lot recently that does not stem directly from Winwick, though in our opinion these items, which appear with the initials P.C. are relevant to, or of interest to, the hospital.
The Publications Cttee. tend to apply general principles rather than hard and fast rules, and frequently find themselves considering good arguments for and against some item. It would help us if we had your views on our decisions.
|1.||The cause of the fire was the lighting of a flame by a patient.|
|2.||This happened in a Winfrith Villa ward dormitory in an area containing three partitioned cubicles.|
|3.||The night nursing assistant, Mr Rawles, was absent from the dormitory for a much longer period than is acceptable and the Charge Nurse Mr Stoddart should not have allowed this.|
|4.||The spread of fire was accelerated and its effect made more serious by the materials used in the partitions, the furniture and the bedding and the curtains.|
|5.||Once the fire had been discovered everyone in the hospital acted promptly and in some cases with gallantry.|
|6.||The actions of the fire brigade were efficient and effective. The failure of the alerter system to act the first time did not affect the situation.|
|7.||The patients who died were already dead or unconscious through asphyxia and carbon monoxide poisoning before they were burned.|
|8.||The policy of the Regional Hospital Board, the Hospital Management Committee and the hospital staff that the patients should live in a more domestic atmosphere and the principles which they followed to achieve this are entirely good. The means of carrying out this policy must achieve it and at the same time provide the highest standard of safety. In other words the wards must be designed to the requirements of the 'client' (for practical purposes the medical and nursing staff) and the architects and suppliers of furnishings of all kinds must meet these requirements with safe materials, subject to adjustment of the requirements by agreement.|
|9.||There is need for more specialized security accommodation for patients who threaten security through fire-raising or other proclivities.|
|10.||The maximum period during which the dormitory should be left unattended is five to six minutes from the point of view of fire risk, and the provision of more nurses and the construction of an observation room provided with facilities for making hot drinks must be considered. The risk for epileptic patients will also be catered for if this is done.|
|11.||If the system cannot ensure that the unattended period is limited to five or six minutes then we are forced to recommend the provision of universal automatic fire detection by smoke sensors.||12.||Whatever can be achieved in other directions, Class 0 materials must be used for vertical surfaces; wardrobes are no less important from this point of view than walls.|
|13.||In order to evacuate patients in this mental and physical condition a drill must be designed and taught to the whole staff so that when they respond to the internal alarm their efforts can be most efficiently used.|
|14.||The present position where the Fire Authority is only able to advise is not satisfactory but will be cured when hospitals are designated under the Fire Precautions Act 1971. We are aware that other considerations will have to be taken into account in the timing of such an order but we hope that it will be made without unnecessary delay.|
|15.||The duties of Group Fire Prevention Officer are too much for one man and we recommend that more manpower be made available for these duties either within the Group or within each individual hospital.|
|16.||There was lack of communication between the senior nursing officer and the night nursing officer and the night staff about developments alterations, and instructions from the medical staff. We think that regular meetings should be held, whatever the inconvenience, so that all the staff understand changes in procedure and structure.|
|17.||Everyone must be made aware of the need for fire-resisting self-closing doors to be kept closed and all such doors should be marked with this requirement, The closing mechanism should be adjusted so as to avoid the risk of injury to patients.|
|18.||The policy of locking doors by day or night should be kept under review on a ward by ward basis.|
|N/A||Miss C Bishop|
|Mrs C Midgley|