England’s hospitals hit by hundreds of sewage leaks in the last year
England’s hospitals have been hit by hundreds of sewage leaks in the last year, records detailing patients slipping on water and ceiling tiles falling down have revealed.
Figures from 55 NHS trusts show that in the past 12 months, there have been 456 sewage leaks in England’s hospitals.
Leeds Teaching Hospital recorded the most leaks with 105 and North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals was not far off with 80.
The figures were revealed by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, with some of the responses also detailing the nature and location of the leaks as staff logged the sewage issues onto a central system.
Among the hospital wards impacted, there were reports of “coloured water” leaking through the ceiling in a respiratory day unit, urine and “faecal matter” leaking into a security office, as well as urine leaking into wards.
This is a national scandal. Our country’s hospitals are falling apart after years of underinvestment and neglect
Staff at The Princess Alexandra Trust Hospital in Harlow recorded a patient getting up off the bed and slipping “due to the water”.
Detailing another instance, another member of staff wrote: “Staff found a large roof leak and several ceiling tiles had fallen in the cath lab theatre.”
Another sewage leak recorded in the A&E department read: “Came into a department, that had the corridor closed due to sewage leaking out of the toilet, going down the corridor and seeping into the waiting room. Bad, offensive smell, unsafe department as water couldn’t be contained.”
The member of staff added: “It was embarrassing to run a department that has sewage leaking everywhere and offensive odour.
“Patient collapsed in waiting room doors, nearly fell into water.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the figures revealed a “national scandal” and urged ministers to find “urgent funds to fix hospitals overflowing with sewage”.
He said: “This is a national scandal. Our country’s hospitals are falling apart after years of underinvestment and neglect. Patients should not be treated in these conditions and heroic nurses should not have the indignity of mopping up foul sewage.
“There is still no sign of the new hospitals promised by this Conservative Government. They have taken local communities for granted by yet again breaking a manifesto promise.
“At every turn, our treasured NHS is crumbling, from hospital buildings to dangerous ambulance wait times.
“The Government needs to find urgent funds to fix hospitals overflowing with sewage. Patient and staff safety is at risk if ministers fail to act.”
The Government said it is investing “record sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings”.
Commenting on the figures, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “While individual NHS organisations are legally responsible for maintaining their estates, we are investing record sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care – including £4.2 billion this year and £8.4 billion over the next two years.
“More widely, we have invested £3.7 billion for the first four years of the New Hospital Programme and remain committed to all schemes that have been announced as part of it.”
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