12th January, 1973Vol. 2. No. 31.

Contents -

Naming of the Wards
Around the Hospital
Round the N.H.S.
Hospital Dance No. 1
Coldharbour -
   Recommendations & Conclusions
Recreation Club Notes
Angling Club
Letters to the Editors
Nursing News
Wanted/For Sale


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.

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The following is a Memorandum from the Group Secretary marking the conclusion of the search for some method of reducing the chaos resulting from the breakdown of the present system.

'At their last meeting the Finance and General Purposes Committee considered the letter received from the Hospital Secretary with regard to the Naming of Wards. The Committee noted that no individual entry warranted the awarding of a prize and then considered the two proposals which had been put forward by the Publications Committee. It was finally agreed 'The wards be numbered 1 to 43 without the use of prefixes and suffixes.'

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Sr. E. Latham and staff would like to convey their thanks to Mrs Edna Irving, occupational therapist of M6D, for her kind and generous gift of chocolates and cigarettes to the patients.



On Wednesday January 3rd, Firm 'A' (Units 1 & 2) held their staff party in the Recreational Hall Annexe. Over 130 guests attended and were entertained by the Brian Edwards Disco, and the all-female singing group 'Country Creme'. This is the second year Units 1 & 2 have held this function and the party this year is reported to have been even more successful than the first.



At a presentation held on Wednesday, January 3rd, 1973 Mr Robert Dickson, Chairman of the Wigan and Leigh Hospitals Management Committee, received a new casualty trolley from Miss Margaret Dunn, Chairman of the League of Friends of The Wigan and District Hospitals.

The £300 trolley will go into use at Wigan Infirmary.



Work is shortly to begin on a £6,230 scheme to improve the fire alarm system at Wrightington Hospital, near Wigan. Although the hospital already has a direct line installed to the fire station there is only one central alarm point, and seconds could have been lost if there was a fire at a distant part of the hospital. With the new system several alarm points will be installed in the hospital's quarter of a mile of corridors.

P. C.


A near £100,000 contract recently came before Manchester Regional Hospitals Board for approval as part of a massive scheme to provide extra facilities at Leigh Infirmary which will eventually enable it to become a district general hospital.

The contract, which has been awarded to a firm, includes a new mortuary for hospital and local authority use, and workshops for engineers, joiners and bricklayers.


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Manchester Regional Hospital Board are providing two dayrooms at South West Lancs hospitals, at a total cost of £15,000.

One will be at Atherleigh Hospital, Leigh, and the other is planned for Ashton Hospital.

The rooms will be furnished with easy chairs and televisions, and will allow the patients to leave the wards during the day.


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A personal view

Perhaps I should begin by mentioning the fog - a strong disincentive to leaving the fireside; nevertheless 40p is 40p. At the most I would guess there were never more than 200 people in the Ballroom - which seemed to sharpen the by now tradititional disagreement between those who blossom in Kop-like conditions, and the gifted few for whom an uncrowded floor is very heaven. As the possessor of two left legs, the low profile of a mild boozer and a wife who can dance, I found the evening a bit strenuous.

But it was noticeable that prices were somewhat down on last year, and the supper was nice and fresh - though as a lunchtime sandwich-eater I felt it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi.

The absence of the traditional centre piece (its place taken by a somewhat tatty Christmas tree) and the equally traditional Bes Naylor, were curious features. Is this the new Group image?

I don't care for such functions (I cannot tell a lie) but for those who do, and can dance, it seemed as good as any I have attended at Winwick. it will be interesting to see how the other two evenings go off.

R. Bruton

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Recommendations and conclusions

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.


The report of the Committee of Inquiry into the fire at Coldharbour Hospital, which cost 30 lives, presents no surprises. Rather does it confirm what we have been stating in the columns of FIRE for many years: fire precautions in hospitals are given far too low priority.

This is not to say that we do not sympathize with those who run our hospital services. Their dilemmas are many. Should the money be spent on new hospital buildings or on kidney machines? Should something be done to improve the quality of the meals or should there be new furniture or colour television sets? Should they be trying to obtain more nursing staff or more fire officers?

Mental Hospitals have even greater problems. It is tragically clear from the report that attempts to make Coldharbour a happier place for the inmates - by partitioning the wards and providing more homely furniture and brighter colours - contributed to the intensity of the fire.

This was not a case of callous disregard of safety but a mixture of good intentions, ignorance and muddle. The final question that should have been asked was: "Now are a11 the patients going to be safe?" Instead the emphasis was on the jollity of their surroundings.


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Would members please note that annual subscriptions are now due, and should be paid before 28.2.73. The subscription is now 30p p.a. the first increase in dues for many years.

They can be handed to Club officials F O'Driscoll and A Badger, or to the Club Steward, F Callaghan. Social Members now have to be re-nominated in a review of the membership. Please note that members cannot nominate a Social member unless he has paid his own subscription fee.

I would like to take this opportunity of again drawing people's attention to the fact that the Club is not allowed to serve drinks to non-members whoever they may be. Failure to observe this rule can only lead to embarrassment.

L. Jones, Secretary

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ANGLING CLUB (Patients & Staff)

Extend an invitation to all patients and staff to their first film show. Friday, 19th January at 3.00 p.m. (repeat at 9.00 p.m. for staff coming off duty) to be held in the In-service Training Room - Title: "Gone Fishing".

Our thanks to those kind people who have sent us cigarette coupons; many more are still required.

Stan Jones, Hon. Sec.

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The plan to reorganise the National Health Service in '74 has two main defects, says a Socialist Medical Association pamphlet - a failure to abolish private practice and health service charges.



Dr A A Baker, Director of the National Health Service Hospital Advisory Service, becomes a Commander of the British Empire in the New Year Honours.

Amongst the nurses whose names appear in the List is Mr Fred Swift, nursing officer at Moss Side Hospital, Maghull. Mr Swift receives the MBE.

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Nurses Home Security

On the 30th December 1972 a person or persons entered, without permisson, the room of a certain resident in the Nurses' Home and removed a sum of money, after causing damage to hospital property.

This is the type of occurence that we in the Home have been experiencing for quite some time now. Various articles have disappeared, ranging from clothing to radio sets and bank books. The police, of course, paid a visit to the premises, but little could be done. This is not surprising considering that easy entrance and exit in the Nurses' Home are accessible to all persons 24 hrs. a day. We received promises of a lock being fitted to each of the doors, with a Yale key for each resident, but we are still waiting in anticipation. Surely an incident as serious as this necessitates the provision of partial, if not total, privacy?

G. Shaw, St. Nurse

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I appreciate this opportunity to thank everyone concerned for the good nursing care and thoughtful attention given to me during my stay in F I.C.U. who between them, have made my wonderful recovery possible.

I extend my warm appreciation to friends and ex-colleagues from wards and departments for their kind concern on my behalf and I may add with great sincerity it is on occasions such as this, that one realizes what one has left behind.

Thanking you all once again.

Doris Rawsthorne


1966 (SEPT) G-Registration MORRIS MINI MK II Details as last week. Box No. 3

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Welcome to

N/AMiss C Bishop
Mrs C Midgley

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