CHILDREN were evacuated from a hospital ward after raw sewage poured from a blocked pipe.
Waste from toilets leaked out of two faulty pipes into the paediatric department of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Youngsters in the Starfish Ward – suffering from a range of illnesses and injuries – were rushed into a different part of the department while a blockage in the pipe was cleared.
To make matters worse a second leak from a separate pipe then once again poured sewage into the empty ward.
Staff working for Carillion, the private company which carries out maintenance for the hospital, are now working to clean and decontaminate all the surfaces and furniture in the ward.
Chairman of the Portsmouth Local Involvement Network Jock McLees, said he had never heard of such a thing happening before and called on the hospital to investigate.
‘I am absolutely horrified that sewage could leak into a children’s ward,’ he said.
‘It is almost unbelievable that this could happen. We will want to make sure that the Portsmouth hospitals trust finds out what caused it and makes sure it cannot happen again.
‘It is also vital that anything which has been contaminated made safe so there are no germs left.
‘There must be no possibility of children becoming infected by the sewage.’
He added that questions now need to be asked of the hospital’s contractor to find out what went wrong.
‘This is down to Carillion.
‘It is responsible for maintaining the hospital’s sewage system,’ he said.
‘So I would want to know what the firm is doing to ensure there is no risk of this in the future.’
Glen Hewlett, director of development and estates at the hospital, said it is not known if last week’s two leaks were related.
He added that the Starfish ward will reopen early next week.
‘This is an unfortunate incident,’ he said.
‘However due to the quick actions of staff there has been minimal disruption to patients, their families and operational activity in the paediatric department.’
Mr Hewlett added: ‘Further repair work has been carried out this week in the ward to floors and walls and all contaminated furniture and fittings have been removed.’
‘The area will be deep cleaned over the coming weekend and inspected by the trust’s infection control team before patients are moved back into this area.’