NHS hospitals battle sewage leaks and maintenance issues as repair backlog grows to £10.2billion
NHS hospitals across England have reported sewage issues, with details released after a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats. A total of 55 hospital trusts provided information, almost half the hospitals in England.
More than half of the 55 hospitals who responded to the request, experienced problems with sewage leaks over the past year. The worst hit was Leeds Teaching Hospital, which reported 105 sewage leaks and North Tees & Hartlepool Hospitals, which reported 80 leaks.
At the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow, Essex, where 40 sewage leaks occurred, staff detailed cases in written data logs. “Raw sewage smell is still ongoing and staff are struggling to work in these conditions,” one report said. “They are all experiencing feeling nauseous, having headaches and feeling very tired.”
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, 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.
“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 a risk if ministers fail to act,” he said.
According to NHS Digital the cost of repairs and maintenance to NHS buildings that should have already been carried out – which does not include planned maintenance work – has reached £10.2billion.
The Department for Health and Social Care 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.”