Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Rosepark inquiry: Dead residents remained on register

Rosepark nursing home
The nursing home where the elderly residents died

Residents who had died prior to a fatal fire at a care home were still listed as staying there on the night of the blaze, an inquiry has heard.

Phyllis West, a staff nurse at the Rosepark home in Uddingston, said the list of residents had not been updated.

She was giving evidence at the second week of a fatal accident inquiry into the deaths of 14 people in the fire in January 2004.

She also said that, at the time of the blaze, there was no fire risk register.

The inquiry, being held at the Gospel Literature Outreach Centre in Motherwell, heard Mrs West was on duty at the home on the evening before the blaze.

Lawyer Andrew Murphy, who is representing another member of staff at the home, showed her a roll of people listed as residents in the home that night.

He asked: "There may be people on that list who at the time of the fire were no longer there?"

It would get done as soon as possible but we didn't have access to the computers so it was not in our arena
Phyllis West
Former staff nurse

Mrs West replied: "Yes."

She said a couple of the residents on the list had died the day before.

Asked how often the list would be updated, she said: "It would get done as soon as possible but we didn't have access to the computers so it was not in our arena."

She also said that there was no fire risk register, which assessed the risk posed by each patient in case of an incident and set out how to deal with the situation, at the care home.

Mrs West, who is now care manager at Rosepark, said the home now has one for each patient.

Fire zones

The inquiry also heard from Alexis Coster, who worked as a nurse at Rosepark between 1992 and 1995 and also did some shifts there in 2003.

She told the inquiry that when she returned to work at Rosepark in 2003 she was shown round the building again and shown where fire exits and extinguishers were.

However, she said that no-one explained to her how the fire control panel worked, or how the zones marked on the panel matched up to zones in the building.

Rosepark home model
A model of the Rosepark home is in the courtroom to help witnesses

During cross-examination, lawyer Pauline Thornton asked: "If the alarm had gone off during the night when you were the nurse in charge, you would not have had a clue where to look without looking right round the home?"

Mrs Coster replied: "That would be right, bearing in mind that I was on with another nurse so they might have known the zone."

Ms Thornton went on: "So, as nurse in charge, you would have been relying on whoever was on with you and that person might not have had any more experience than yourself?"

She answered: "Yes."

The fatal accident inquiry, being led by sheriff principal Brian Lockhart, is expected to last between four and six months.

It can make recommendations to prevent a similar tragedy, but these are not legally binding.

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