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Southend University Hospital steps down from major incident

13 December 2016

Health Care

At 18.00hrs Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust stepped down from the major incident declared earlier in the day due to a large diesel fuel leak at the Cardigan Building of the hospital. Fumes affected some areas of the hospital resulting in the Maternity Unit and two additional ward areas being evacuated as a precaution.

The Fire Service worked on site during the incident to ensure patients, visitors and staff safety at all times. The hospital asked patients and visitors not to attend the hospital during the incident.

The leak has now been contained and controlled, although an odour continues to affect some areas of the Cardigan Building. For this reason, the Trust is undertaking regular assessments of odour levels in evacuated patient areas before the decision is taken to return patients to those areas.

Neil Rothnie, Medical Director at Southend University Hospital, said: "Hospital staff and the Emergency Services responded rapidly to the fuel leak this afternoon, and worked extremely hard in taking precautionary safety measures by evacuating patients from some of our wards in the affected part of the hospital.

"I must emphasise that no patients, visitors or staff on the hospital site suffered any harm as a result of the leak."

"We are very grateful to our neighbouring hospitals across the region, who have accepted both maternity patients and emergency ambulances while the hospital has been closed.

"I am pleased that the diesel leak is now contained and repaired, and the clean-up process is underway.

"While we did have to cancel appointments this afternoon to enable staff to manage the immediate issues, I can reassure patients that outpatient appointments will be back to normal tomorrow and anyone with a scheduled appointment for a clinic or operation should attend unless they hear from us otherwise.

"Any pregnant women who believe they are in labour or need to contact the midwifery team should call 01702 385261 where the team are answering calls.

"We will provide further updates when we have additional information, but in the meantime we would ask patients and members of the public to be patient over the next few days while we work together towards bringing the hospital back to a normal service.

"Once again, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone involved for their hard work in helping us to manage this incident."