Trust bosses report on day when wards at Watford General lacked running water

The incident did not impact on hospital admissions

By Deborah Price, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 8:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 8:34 am

Patients and staff in Watford General’s main hospital block had to manage for a day without their usual access to running water, it has emerged.

A ‘pump failure’ at the hospital led to a lack of hot and cold running water supply to largest clinical building, the Princess Michael of Kent building (PMoK).

And that meant bottled water was brought in for drinking, sterile water brought in for bed baths and wipes and gel used for hand-washing.

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Trust bosses report on day when wards at Watford General lacked running water

It is understood that the incident, which occurred on June 2, did not impact on hospital admissions and had not happened before.

And it was highlighted to the West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust board on Thursday, September 2.

“The lack of water in PMoK occurred on 2nd June, which saw the trust experience issues with the hot and cold water supplies throughout the PMoK building at Watford General Hospital affecting all areas throughout the building,” says the report to the board.

“This caused a reduction in availability and pressure of water throughout the day.

“Staff were asked to enact business continuity plans such as utilising wipes for cleaning and where appropriate, using sterile water for bed baths with the supplies team replenishing products throughout the day.

“Staff are asked to use alco-gel and Clinell handwipes for handwashing and bottled water was supplied as required.”

The incident was highlighted to the board as part of an overall report on emergency planning and business continuity.

And following the meeting a spokesperson for the Trust told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Our estates team worked hard to manage the issue which was resolved by the end of the day.

“Staff had access to sterile water in clinical areas and followed well planned trust processes to ensure the safe care of our patients.”

At the meeting it was also reported that later in the same month (June 16) the Trust ran a full test of the emergency generators – by turning off the main power.

As part of the ‘black start generator test’ the power at the Vicarage Road site was turned off in order to check that he generator ‘kicked in and picked up the load’.

And reporting on the success of the test, the report to the Trust board states: “The switch over from mains power to the generators and back again completed successfully with a log of the minor issues that occurred for resolution and reporting.”

According to the report, a risk assessment of all clinical areas was carried out in advance of the test to ensure all departments had reviewed their business continuity plan.

And, it says, a command structure was set-up on the day to monitor the switch over and to liaise with key departments.