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‘Water’ recognition for A&E flood saviours at Southend Hospital

05 August 2014

Health Care

When Southend was hit by the extreme weather at the end of July, Southend Hospital’s A&E department experienced limited flooding after a storm drain ‘popped’ its lid.

The actions and quick thinking of all the staff on duty, or who came in that day, were commended and rewarded with the hospital unanimously choosing them as this month's Hospital Heroes.

As two inches of water came into a section of A&E, no mean feat given the drains have six foot shafts and two inch thick lids which shows just how much the water pressure increased within such a short space of time, the staff rose to the occasion.

The overall winner of the award was emergency planning and liaison officer, Paul Hepworth. Described as a serial unsung hero, who plays such an important, often behind the scenes role, Paul, on that day, demonstrated once again his commitment and unwavering professionalism to the job.

Paul was at home, however as soon as he realised the extremity of the weather he called in to check that all was okay, heading onto site immediately to assist with the clean-up operation.

A typically modest Paul, said: "A total of 44 people, from right across all areas of the hospital, were highlighted for their endeavours that day, which includes people who were doctors, nurses, from facilities, emergency department assistants, porters, receptionists, a domestic, clinical site manager and senior manager on call. This really summed up the values of the hospital and how we all work as a team, together for the patients.

"Despite this unexpected event, our staff remained professional, responsible and above all caring in ensuring the safety and well-being of all our patients. We were all just doing our job but I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that it's great to be recognised this way."

Whilst requesting a temporary ambulance divert for the sickest patients to enable those already on the unit to be moved into a separate area, the rest of the department continued to treat those in minors whilst the clean-up operation was in full swing.

Dedicated staff due to finish their shift stayed on to help without question and within an hour and a half the department was back fully functioning, and despite the unprecedented weather the department still managed to hit the national four hour waiting target.