Southend University Hospital re-opens evacuated wards
14 December 2016
From 14.00 today Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will reopen the ward areas closed since the diesel fuel spill yesterday.
The Trust is undertaking a full investigation of the incident.
The leak came from a 1000 litre fuel tank linked to the Trust's
heating system, which ensures a gas or diesel option for the
boilers is available to ensure a constant heating service is
provided to patients in the Cardigan Building in the hospital.
Jan China, Director of
Estates and Facilities Management, said: "We are continuing with
our urgent investigation of the cause and impact of yesterday's
diesel fuel leak.
"The diesel fuel in the top
floor plant room is essential to ensure that we can provide
continuous heating for our patient areas should the primary gas
system fail, and is standard practice.
"We have worked closely with
the Environment Agency and a Specialist Contractor, who we called
to assist us at the time of the incident yesterday, and have
cleaned up the spill which has reduced the strong odour.
"We were made aware rapidly
yesterday that some diesel fuel from the spill had entered the
Prittle Brook. Boom barriers have been put in place along the Brook
to minimise the immediate impact and the clean-up is in
"Our top priority now is to
ensure that we continue to effectively manage the consequences of
the spill but we will obviously assess the financial impact of the
incident once the clean-up is complete.
"Our staff and partner
agencies responded fantastically to the incident, and all agreed
that the emergency plan worked very well."
Jon Findlay, Chief Operating
Officer, said: "Having closely monitored the affected areas, we are
now satisfied that the unpleasant odour resulting from the spill
has mostly dissipated and the environment is suitable for the
return of patients and staff.
"As we said yesterday,
planned appointments and surgeries are going ahead, and patients
should attend unless they hear from us directly.
"I am extremely grateful to
everyone involved in helping us manage the incident yesterday; the
Fire Service and Environment Agency; our colleagues at Basildon and
Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Mid Essex
Hospital Services NHS Trust; the East of England Ambulance Trust
and of course our own staff.
"I would also like to
express my thanks to patients and visitors for their cooperation
and support during the incident. It will take us a few days to
rearrange appointments that had to be cancelled at short notice as
a consequence of the incident so I would ask for your patience
during this time."