Rosepark : Fire safety promises ‘taken at face value’

Assurances over fire safety procedures provided by a care home where 14 pensioners lost their lives were accepted at “face value” by health board inspectors, an inquiry heard.

The fatal accident inquiry into the fire at Rosepark Nursing Home, Uddingston, in January 2004, heard further evidence yesterday from Yvonne Lawton, 39. Ms Lawton, a former inspector with Lanarkshire Health Board, had carried out several inspections of the home.

The health board was in charge of inspections until the Care Commission took over the task in 2002.

Rosepark, as with all nursing homes, embarked on a self-audit exercise in advance of its yearly health board inspection. Six-monthly checks were also carried out by officials unannounced.

In the 2000 self-audit, the home indicated that both fire drills and fire extinguisher checks were carried out on ­particular dates in 1999.

Advocate Depute Robert Weir put it to Ms Lawton: “Would you take steps to clarify and verify?” Ms Lawton replied: “Yes, there may be … we probably would have accepted on face value that those things happened.”

She said she would have “probably” looked at the fire extinguishers during the inspection, but would have “accepted” that the fire drill took place.

The self-audit also detailed an inspection by the Fire Brigade on August 26, 1999.

Mr Weir asked: “What evidence or verification would you look for to check the date of last inspection?” Ms Lawton said she would look to the care home’s register.

She added: “There is an element of trust, that you were trusting what people told you.”

Health board guidance for the inspection of nursing homes, published in 1999, was also highlighted. The document outlines that inspectors should examine fire notices, fire-fighting equipment, fire exits and emergency procedures.

Under questioning, Ms Lawton said: “From my point of view I don’t believe I was skilled in that area, to look at procedures.”

The inquiry continues.