Inquest into fire death of Yarmouth woman shows health and social workers ‘didn’t know’ of policy to reduce risk of harm

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An inquest into the death of a Great Yarmouth woman who died in a fire at her home has revealed that health and social workers involved in the case ‘didn’t know’ of a policy intended to avoid such tragedies.

Sharon Allison, a partner with Ashtons Legal, has been representing the family of Yasmin Siddiqi, 41, who died in a fire at her flat in Rodney Road in October 2018.  She had been under the care of mental health services for a number of years.

There had been concerns for some time about her welfare, both from her family and her professional carers.

One of those concerns had been over her habit of hoarding things. The situation in her flat had deteriorated to the extent that it constituted a fire hazard, which was known to a number of professionals working with Ms Siddiqi.

But it emerged during the proceedings that many of those involved in caring for Ms Siddiqi didn’t know of a policy devised precisely to avoid such tragedies.

The policy was devised by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adult Hub and was intended as a multi-disciplinary approach, to prevent exactly the risks of self neglect and hoarding which led to Ms Siddiqi’s death.

Sharon Allison specialises in cases involving inquests and mental health disorder.

“The self neglect and hoarding policy was devised to implement a multidisciplinary approach to reduce the risk of harm,” Sharon Allison explains.

“It was genuinely shocking and devastating to the family to hear in evidence that so many health professionals responsible for Yasmin’s care were unaware of the existence of the document at all.

“Evidence from the fire service confirmed that hoarding is a growing problem in Norfolk and represents a significant challenge to them.

“The family want to offer their heartfelt thanks to all of the emergency services on the day, who made truly heroic decisions in Yasmin’s rescue from her flat.

“Yasmin’s family hope that the evidence, recommendations and her untimely and tragic death will bring about the necessary changes within all health organisations to prevent further loss.

“The family will need to take some time now to consider the evidence they have heard and consider the options available to them.”


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