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Torbay hospital ‘sewage leaks’ spark call for help

Tuesday, 23 April 2024 08:19

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Torbay Hospital (Image: Ed Oldfield/LDRS)

Repair bill getting bigger

Ageing buildings at Torbay Hospital are suffering sewage and water leaks, it has been revealed.

The trust that runs the hospital is spending a million pounds a year on scaffolding and remedial works to preserve deteriorating sections of its buildings.

Now the health secretary is being urged to step in and make sure promised funds are delivered quickly.

Torbay is the third-oldest hospital in the country, and large areas of its main block date back to the 1960s.

A report to Torbay Council from the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said the poor state of the buildings is impacting patients, who are losing confidence in the service and experiencing delays. There are also health and safety issues such as hospital-acquired infections.

Furthermore there is an impact on staff, with negative effects on morale, recruitment and retention.

Torbay Council’s Liberal Democrat group leader Steve Darling (Barton with Watcombe) has written to health secretary Victoria Atkins calling for help.

The hospital, he says, is included in ‘Tranche Four’ of the government’s programme called ‘Building a Brighter Future for our NHS’. Tranche Two is currently in progress.

Cllr Darling said: “We were sadly given the clear impression from the trust that the programme has been suffering from significant delays.

“One of the key challenges identified from a recent CQC inspection is that decades of under-investment in the hospital is leading to an environment in which it is difficult for staff to deliver services that residents deserve.”

Cllr Darling said councillors had been told that 80 per cent of the hospital estate is currently of poor or bad quality.

He went on: “We also learned that there are regular sewage leaks in the main tower block of the hospital as well as water leaks. A million pounds has been spent on scaffolding and remedial works to preserve parts of the building that are badly deteriorating.

“Our hard-working NHS staff are having to work under intolerable conditions and the government needs to deliver at pace the Brighter Future programme.

“It needs to ensure that the 80 per cent of the hospital that is of poor or bad quality is brought up to a decent standard in the interests of both NHS staff and patients.”

The NHS has been approached for comment, but hasn’t done so.

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