Royal London Hospital face fines for false alarm calls

The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. Picture: Press Association.

The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. Picture: Press Association. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

The Royal London Hospital could face thousands of pounds in fines following the decision by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to charge for false alarms.

The LFB will become the first service in the country to hit buildings such as hospitals, airports and student accommodations with a £290-plus-VAT penalty.

The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, run by Britain’s biggest NHS trust, Barts Health, made 98 false alarms.

In the last 12 months, the service was called to 403 locations more than 10 times, costing the LFB around £800,000.

Hospitals across London cause the highest number of calls – 1,722 in 2012/13 – followed by airports, student halls, colleges and nurses’ and doctors’ accommodation.

A spokeswoman for Barts said it is taking the issue “seriously” and are working to reduce the number of call outs.

She said: “Using this information, we have already changed some of the sensors we use to work better in the complex environment of a modern hospital.

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“We will continue to work to reduce unnecessary call-outs in partnership with our colleagues in the London Fire Brigade.”

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) said the majority of automatic fire alarms are false alarms caused by faulty or badly maintained systems or things like burnt toast, steam or dust.

James Cleverly, LFEPA chairman, added: “The public deserve and expect firefighters to be available to attend genuine emergencies rather than attending thousands of false alarms.”