Calls to pay for false call-outs
LONDON Fire Brigade is demanding that the NHS Trust responsible for Hillingdon and Mount Vernon Hospitals cough up thousands of pounds for false call-outs.
The fire service said Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was among the worst offenders in the capital for false alarms in 2014 – with 44 call outs to the two hospitals last year.
Neil Orbell, head of fire safety at the LFB said: “This is not a moneymaking scheme and the last organisations we want to charge are hospitals. However we are called to over 30,000 false alarms every year and some hospitals we go to nearly every week.
“We want to work with hospitals on this issue which is why we will wait until the tenth call before we start to recover our costs. We also work with them to see how they can improve the maintenance and management of their automatic fire alarm systems.”
A spokeswoman for Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust was issued with 19 invoices - six of these have been passed on to lease holders at Mount Vernon as the call-outs were as a result of their actions.
“We want to eliminate all false-alarm calls and have improved the management of our fire alarm systems to prevent unnecessary costs to our hospitals.”
Last January, the LFB began recovering £295 for the 10th false alarm attended at the same site within a 12-month period and for all subsequent false alarm call outs.
That means the Trust would be billed £10,325. However, the Trust says it is being billed for 19 false call-outs, of which six will be paid by leaseholders, such as hairdressers, charity shop, nursery and dentist, based on its site.
This would mean the Trust paying £3,385.
The introduction of billing for false alarms has resulted in a 7.3 per cent drop in cases, but fire chiefs want to see greater improvements.