Trust sorry for maternity unit’s sewage problems

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Craigavon Hospital has apologised after pipes filled with raw sewage spewed over parts of the Maternity Unit three times in the last month.

According to members of staff, stinking sewage burst from a pipe in the ceiling of the antenatal clinic on February 17, spraying around reception and splattering carpets and patient records.

Raw faeces and sewage was reportedly covering files, hanging off doors, patients’ charts and ‘bounty bags’ for expectant mums.It is understood staff tried to clean up the mess but many of the items, including the carpet, had to be thrown out and a specialist cleaning firm was drafted in.

A few days later there was another incident of raw sewage leaking in the Maternity Unit and the stench was so bad a tea room had to be cordoned off.

Also last week a sewage pipe burst outside on the roof of the antenatal unit and raw sewage spewed all over the roof and came streaming down windows.

Debbie Burns, Southern Trust Interim Director of Acute Services, said: “There have been some recent issues with blocked sewers at Craigavon Hospital, mainly caused by the flushing of inappropriate sanitary items such as wipes, nappies and J cloths, down toilets in the hospital.

“I apologise to any patients and staff for any distress caused by sewage overflow at the hospital.

“I would like to stress that in these situations, specialist plumbers are called in immediately to fix the problem and a very thorough clean-up is carried out as quickly as possible by specialist cleaning contractors. Trust domestic teams also complete a full terminal clean of the areas affected.

“Infection control measures are also put in place to minimise any risk to patients and the safety of patients is our priority at all times. Contractors are also employed to check external drains on a weekly basis and remove any blockages.

“We are currently in the process of replacing pipe fittings in the hospital with new fittings (which are more effective). This will include the Maternity Unit.

“The main cause of these blockages is the flushing of inappropriate items such as: white wipes, nappies and J cloths, down toilets in the hospital. . .I appeal to everyone using our hospitals to help us look after our facilities by using the bins provided.”