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Hospital infrastructure report reveals collapsed ceilings and sewage leaks

Poor state of repair at some NHS hospitals has seen operations delayed and patients moved

Poor state of repair at some NHS hospitals has seen operations delayed and patients moved


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Some NHS hospitals are in such a poor state of repair that they have had collapsed ceilings, nurses being trapped in broken lifts and even sewage leaking onto wards, an investigation has found.

A freedom of information request by the Labour Party to hospitals in England found examples of patients having operations delayed, being made to move wards and, in one case, a single shower being used by 19 people.

The request obtained responses from 170 trusts, with 76 of them reporting such incidents affecting their clinical services in 2018-19. The trusts, which were not named, blamed the problems on infrastructure failures.

‘Growing maintenance backlog’

NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said: ‘There is a growing backlog of maintenance issues. Trusts need urgent access to capital funding to solve the real patient safety and quality concerns that have developed.’

One trust in the north west had a ceiling collapse, water leaking onto a maternity landing and a broken lift in which two nurses were trapped.

Another trust in Yorkshire and the Humber had faeces coming through the floor in one corridor and broken patient call buttons.

In London, one trust’s emergency department was closed due to a ‘severe’ sewage leak and in another there was water coming through the ceiling and several patients had to be moved.

A trust in the East Midlands had sewage coming up through bathroom drains, which led to water flooding into a corridor and leaving only one shower room available for 19 patients.

Operations delayed

At a trust in the East Midlands leaking water pipes led to operations being delayed or cancelled.

In the West Midlands a labour ward was cold and babies could not be kept warm.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it had invested £3.9 billion to upgrade facilities and had other ambitions to modernise the health service under the NHS Long Term Plan.

The spokesperson said future capital funding proposals would be considered in the spending review due later this year.


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