Broken lifts, SEWAGE leaks, sinking floors, holes in the ceiling and cracked walls: Dire state of NHS hospitals laid bare in damning investigation
- Alarming footage has shown the grim condition of St Helier Hospital in London
- And any other hospitals have reported damning unresolved maintenance issues
Broken lifts, leaks, sinking floors, holes in the ceiling and cracked walls – this is the reality at one NHS hospital.
Alarming footage has laid bare the grim condition of St Helier Hospital in south London, which is said to be ‘literally crumbling’.
Clips released as part of an ITV investigation show ‘leaks so severe they flood and close corridors’, maternity staff working under sheets full of water, and broken doors being propped open by waste bins.
Some wards at the hospital have become so unsafe they have been shut, and what was once an intensive care unit is being used a store room due to a broken ventilation system.
Dr Pauline Swift, a consultant who works at the hospital, said: ‘I feel like the NHS is held together by new licks of paint and plywood.
Alarming footage has laid bare the grim condition of St Helier Hospital in south London, which is said to be ‘literally crumbling’
Some wards at the hospital have become so unsafe they have been shut (pictured) and what was once an intensive care unit is being used a store room due to a broken ventilation system
‘There are leaks, a lot of leaks. Paint is peeling off the wall. It looks very much like a temporary shack.’
She added that staff fear patients will be concerned about what sort of care they are going to receive in conditions that are ‘not suitable, not now, not ever.’
But Dr Swift stressed that the level of care provided is ‘first-class’.
And this is not a one-hospital issue.
Half of trusts which responded to the investigation claimed to have at least one unresolved structural or maintenance problem.
The University Hospital of North Tees said its building is not fit for purpose and ‘presents significant safety issues for our staff and patients.’
READ MORE: Britain’s crumbling NHS: SEWAGE is leaking into cancer wards, maternity units and A&Es, shock audit reveals
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary claimed there is ‘potential for falling stone’ at its site, while Liverpool’s The Walton Centre said leaks have been unresolved for eight years.
And Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn is being ‘held up by 61 temporary props’, while Torbay Hospital has significant structural defects in the concrete floors above two operating theatres.
At Croydon University Hospital, one patient was so appalled by the ward conditions, which included a tree growing through a bathroom window and no heating on the wards, that she took videos.
Sarah Hills said: ‘My nose was freezing and it was bitter. They brought down one oil-filled portable heater that was put near my bed. That was it for a whole ward.
‘I looked up at the ceiling above my head and it was cracked.’
Ms Hills added that staff were being forced to work in ‘such poor conditions’ and her ‘heart just bled for them’.
ITV found that many NHS doctors feel maintenance issues are being played down, and even hidden, but are too scared to speak out for fear of repercussions.
This is not a one-hospital issue, as 50 per cent of trusts who responded to the investigation claimed to have at least one unresolved structural or maintenance problem
Clips released as part of an ITV investigation show ‘leaks so severe they flood and close corridors’, maternity staff working under sheets full of water, and broken doors being propped open by waste bins (pictured)
Speaking anonymously, one medic said: ‘I feel like we are always just hoping that the next time something happens it doesn’t cause something catastrophic.’
And another, also anonymously, said: ‘I have had to push a critically unwell patient through dropping water effectively and getting both me and the patient wet.’
The Department of Health and Social Care said that hospitals are being given record amounts of funding to repair and maintain their premises.
The shocking discoveries come after an audit by the Liberal Democrats last week found that, in some hospitals, sewage is leaking into cancer wards, maternity units and A&Es.
The political party branded it a ‘national disgrace’ that urine and faecal matter have been found seeping into wards, pouring through ceilings and spewing out of drains.
NHS trust Leeds Teaching Hospitals recorded 105 sewage leaks in 2022 — almost one every three days.
Patients have slipped on the sewage while staff have become ill, complaining of headaches and nausea from the smell.
NHS trusts recorded a total of 456 leaks between January and December 2022.
But the true toll will be even higher, as only 55 NHS hospital trusts — just over a third of all those in England — responded to Freedom of Information requests about sewage leaks.
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