Belfast Telegraph

Sewage leaked down doors of clinic

By Chris Kilpatrick

Health chiefs have apologised after a series of sewage leaks in a hospital's maternity unit.

Eyewitnesses told of seeing human waste streaming down windows and doors at Craigavon Hospital in recent weeks.

During one incident on February 17, staff said a sewage pipe burst in the ceiling of the antenatal clinic.

Workers attempted to clean the area but many items had to be thrown out and a specialist cleaning firm brought in.

Days later it is reported there was another leak of raw sewage in the maternity unit.

And last week another sewage pipe in the antenatal unit is said to have burst.

The Southern Trust apologised and said that the reason for the leaks were blockages caused by inappropriate items such as nappies and wipes being flushed down toilets.

Debbie Burns, Southern Trust Interim Director of Acute Services, said: "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."

She added: "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 replacing pipe fittings in the hospital with new fittings.

"This will include the maternity unit."

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