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Flushed nappy caused leak at Shropshire hospital's new £28m unit

Telford | News | Published:

A sewage leak at the new £28 million woman and children's unit at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital was caused by someone flushing a nappy and baby vest down the toilet, it was revealed today.

The Shropshire Women and Children's Centre, at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital

Watchdogs Healthwatch have urged patients and visitors to be careful when disposing of nappies, bandages and other items in the wake of the discovery.

The Shropshire Star reported earlier this month that leaking sewage ran down the walls of a ward inside the new unit just weeks after it opened to the public.

Kate Ballinger, of Healthwatch Telford, said the sewage problem was caused by someone flushing a nappy and baby vest down the toilet.

She said: "We met with staff at the women & children's unit last week and were made aware that problems with drainage were as a result of inappropriate items being flushed down the toilets.

"Healthwatch would very much like to hear if there are issues with disposing of nappies and pads in the new unit and would encourage people to contact us if there are not sufficient bins in the toilet facilities."

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said following the "one-off" incident in October, it was discovered that nappies, bandages and other items were being flushed down the toilet.

Cathy Smith, women and children's care group director at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said:

"In a one-off incident on October 10, which has already been widely reported, a toilet within an en-suite on the gynaecology ward became blocked and leaked through the ceiling into a single side room and part of the nurses' station on the children's ward below. Women on the affected bay within the gynaecology ward were quickly moved to alternative beds and the children's ward side room was closed off.

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"Clinical, managerial and estates staff responded quickly to this but, unfortunately, attempts to clear the waste pipe by the use of rods and jet water failed to clear the blockage in the pipe.

"The decision was made to disconnect the pipe in the side room to clear the blockage, which resolved the issue. The room then underwent a deep clean by a specialist cleaning service.

"The new centre contains 103 toilets. People will know from their own experiences at home that toilets can become blocked – if you multiply that by 103 it gives you some idea of the challenges we are dealing with."

The centre, which opened in September, relocated from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and is now the main base for children requiring an overnight stay, ongoing cancer treatment and haematology care.

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