Trust apologises after raw sewage spills onto patient at Craigavon Area Hospital
The Southern Health Trust has said sorry after a broken waste pipe at Craigavon Area Hospital spilled raw sewage over a patient in one of the wards last week.
The hospital is nearing the end of a major refurbishment programme to replace a sewerage system that is no longer fit for purpose.
Repair work on the system began last September following a series of leaks and spills in early 2015.
A Southern Trust spokesperson said: "There was a recent incident involving a leak from a pipe in the ceiling above a bedroom in a ward at Craigavon Area Hospital.
"The patient in the bedroom was immediately relocated to another room and every effort was made to support the patient following this distressing incident.
"Specialist contractors were called in immediately to fix the problem and a very thorough clean-up was carried out by specialist cleaning contractors. Trust domestic teams also completed a full terminal clean of the areas affected."
Esther Gishkori, Southern Trust director of acute services, apologised to the patient, saying: "I am very sorry for the distress caused to the patient and their family by this incident.
"We have recently replaced many of the old pipe fittings in the hospital with new fittings - this incident was caused by a blockage of the old sewage pipework, which is scheduled for replacement in the coming weeks.
"It is planned that all the sewage pipes in the main hospital block will have been replaced by March 31."
Local SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly, who previously raised the issue of ruptured pipes at the hospital, said she was disturbed to hear of another incident.
"A patient going into hospital does not expect to get sprayed by raw sewage," she said. "I welcome a commitment to update the pipes, but it is a pity we have got to this point. The Health Minister has some questions to answer with regards to the infrastructure of the hospital."
Craigavon DUP councillor Margaret Tinsley said she was sorry to hear about the patient concerned and said she did not believe it reflected the standard of care at the hospital.
She added: "The care and attention has been second to none. On Friday evening I was in A&E with a constituent and what the staff have to deal with is totally unacceptable."
She said any incident regarding raw sewage in a hospital was "very concerning to hear" and welcomed the trust's pledge to replace the sewage pipes by the end of next month.
It's just a year since the hospital had to apologise following an incident that led to raw sewage sloshing into the maternity unit, spraying its reception area and soiling files, furniture and gift bags given to expectant mothers.
The hospital authorities blamed toilet users for flushing "inappropriate items" down the toilets, leading to blockages in the pipework.