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Wirral man prosecuted after dangerously storing 33kg of display fireworks in pub cellar

A Wirral man has been prosecuted by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) after he was found to be storing more than 33kg of display fireworks next to combustible materials in a pub cellar, despite not having a licence.

William Poston, of the Coach and Horses Public House, on Hoylake Road, Moreton, appeared before Liverpool Magistrates Court, on Thursday, 4 October 2018.  The 63 year old had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to storing fireworks in dangerous conditions. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work.

The Court heard how Mr Poston had bought a large number of fireworks and stored them in the cellar of the Coach & Horses Pub, without any regard to the safety of staff or members of the public. Officers from MFRA discovered the boxes of fireworks; amounting to more than 33kg; piled on the floor of the cellar amongst cardboard boxes, electrical equipment and rubbish.

The Court heard that had the electrical equipment started a fire, the fireworks would have become quickly involved due to their close proximity to both the electrical equipment and other combustible materials. The danger of an explosion was so high that the items were seized by officers and immediately removed from the premises.

The Court also heard that Mr Poston had failed to follow any of the safety measures required under health and safety regulations for storing fireworks, and had been storing the fireworks without a licence. Any fire would have resulted in an explosion, putting people in the pub or in nearby businesses at risk of serious injury or death as well as the risk posed to the fire fighters responding to any such incident.

While the judge acknowledged that Mr Poston's early guilty plea had a significant impact on the sentence imposed, the seriousness of the case was emphasised, expressing that it was only by chance that disaster had been avoided.

Station Manager Chris Head, from MFRA, was 1 of the officers who discovered the boxes of fireworks. He said:- "We found the fireworks piled up in the cellar when they should have been stored in a separate room away from anything that could have started a fire. These were professional display fireworks and extremely powerful explosives which require careful handling and must be kept securely, in line with strict safety conditions under Health & Safety Regulations. Mr Poston had failed to do any of this and put himself and the public at huge risk."

Mr Poston was also ordered to pay costs amounting to ₤1,590.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority issues more than 150 licences to store fireworks each year, and works closely with businesses across Merseyside to ensure they store and sell fireworks both safely and legally. For more information, visit HSE's website.

St. Joseph's Hospice rated GOOD by CQC

THE CQC (Care Quality Commission) has inspected St. Joseph's Hospice in Merseyside and has found it to be a Good Hospice. In its latest inspection, which was carried out between 7 August and 9 August 2018, the CQC found the Hospice to be:- "effective, caring, responsive and well led." The Hospice, which has now jumped up 2 ratings in just 1 year, was found to have "systematically improved in quality and performance."

Inspectors also praised the Hospice, and its senior management team, for sustaining the improvements seen at its previous inspection in December 2017 and noted that it has "continued to improve how medicines are given and recorded."

The CQC inspected the Hospice using its comprehensive inspection methodology which inspects 5 key areas; whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

During the 3 day visit, which was unannounced, inspectors found that staff:- "cared for their patients with compassion" and "provided emotional support to patients and their relatives to minimise their distress." Patients and relatives also confirmed that the:- "staff treat them well and with kindness" and that "the staff involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment."

Inspectors comments that the Hospice:- "controlled infection risk well" and "kept the premises and equipment clean." According to inspectors, the Hospice nursing and care staff have:- "the right qualifications, skill, training and experience to keep people safe and provide the right care and treatment." Detailed records of patient care and treatment are also kept "clear and up to date."

Hospice managers were found to:- "monitor the effectiveness of care and treatment" and "use the findings to improve them." It was clear to the inspectors that the Hospice made sure that staff were:- "competent for their roles" and that managers:- "appraised all staff work and performance." They also noted that:- "staff of different kinds worked together as a team to benefit patients."

Managers at all levels were found to have the:- "right skills and abilities to run a high quality, sustainable service" and that they "promoted a positive culture that supported and valued staff."

Staff told inspectors that they believed the culture to be:- "open and transparent" with "positive relationships between staff and managers."

Inspectors found the Hospice to be responsive in that it:- "plans and provides services in a way that meets the needs of local people" and that it:- "takes account of people's individual needs" with care plans that are:- "comprehensive and person centred."

Mike Parr, Chief Executive of St. Joseph's Hospice, said:- "I have never been in any doubt that St. Joseph's Hospice is a Good Hospice and the majority of our patients and families would agree with that. However, it is wonderful and really important that the CQC has also recognised this. We have built a fantastic team here and I am very proud of everyone who works at the Hospice as this is a result of everyone's hard work and dedication over the last 2 years. We should all feel incredibly privileged to work here. This rating comes at a brilliant time, just as we are looking to expand and develop the services that we offer. We cover a very large geographical area and we want to reach out and support more people who would benefit from high quality end of life care and support services. We would like to thank all our patients, families and supporters who have stood by us over the last year. We quite simply couldn't have achieved this without all of them."

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