Britain’s crumbling NHS: SEWAGE is leaking into cancer wards, maternity units and A&Es, shock audit reveals
- Investigation found 55 NHS trusts have reported incidents in the last 12 months
- Leeds Teaching Hospital reported highest number of sewage leaks with 105
- The Liberal Democrats said its discoveries were ‘a national scandal’
Sewage is leaking into our hospitals, according to a damning audit of England’s crumbling NHS.
Urine and faecal matter have seeped into cancer wards, maternity units and A&Es over the past year, pouring through ceilings and spewing out of drains.
One hospital trust even recorded 105 sewage leaks throughout 2022 — or almost one every three days.
The Liberal Democrats, which compiled the data, called it a ‘national scandal’.
Patients have slipped on the sewage while staff have become ill, complaining of headaches and nausea from the smell.
Urine and faecal matter have seeped into cancer wards, maternity units and A&Es over the past year, pouring through ceilings and overflowing out drains. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust recorded the most leaks at 105. Pictured above, Leeds General Infirmary, part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals
Only 55 NHS hospital trusts — just over a third of England’s total NHS trusts — responded to Freedom of Information requests about sewage leaks. Pictured above, University Hospital of Hartlepool, part of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust which recorded 80 incidents
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: ‘Our country’s hospitals are falling apart after years of underinvestment and neglect.
‘Patients should not be treated in these conditions and heroic nurses shouldn’t have the indignity of mopping up foul sewage.
He added: ‘There is still no sign of the new hospitals promised by this Conservative Government. They have taken local communities for granted by yet again breaking a manifesto promise.
‘At every turn, our treasured NHS is crumbling, from hospital buildings to dangerous ambulance wait times.
‘The Government needs to find urgent funds to fix hospitals overflowing with sewage. Patient and staff safety is a risk if Ministers fail to act.’
NHS trusts recorded a total of 456 leaks between January and December 2022.
Only 55 NHS hospital trusts — just over a third of England’s total NHS trusts — responded to Freedom of Information requests about sewage leaks.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals recorded the most leaks at 105, followed by North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals at 80.
Staff at The Princess Alexandra Trust Hospital in Harlow, which reported 40 leaks, said water flooding the floor caused a patient to slip as they got out of bed.
Detailing the incident, one worker stated it was ’embarrassing to run a department that has sewage leaking everywhere and offensive odour.’
The smell is ‘ongoing’ and ‘staff are struggling to work in these conditions’, another said. ‘They are all feeling nauseous, having headaches and feeling very tired.’
Contaminated water leaked onto X-ray machines at Salisbury and sewage seeped into cancer wards at Milton Keynes University Hospital, staff said.
Staff at The Princess Alexandra Trust Hospital in Harlow, (pictured above), which reported 40 leaks, said water flooding the floor caused a patient to slip as they got out of bed. Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: ‘Our country’s hospitals are falling apart after years of underinvestment and neglect
Across England, there were numerous reports of sewage flowing into A&E units.
It comes as the cost of overdue maintenance on the NHS estate has this month reached £9billion, with £4.5billion classed as high or significant risk.
A investigation earlier this month by the Liberal Democrats also revealed that only one in four of the new hospitals promised by the Government have planning permission.
The commitment to build the 40 new hospitals by 2030 was a key pledge in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.
Commenting on the figures, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘While individual NHS organisations are legally responsible for maintaining their estates, we are investing record sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care – including £4.2 billion this year and £8.4 billion over the next two years.
They added: ‘More widely, we have invested £3.7 billion for the first four years of the ‘New Hospital Programme’ and remain committed to all schemes that have been announced as part of it.’
|NHS Trust||Number of sewage leaks reported|
|Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust||7|
|Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust||105|
|King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust||17|
|Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust||3|
|Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||2|
|Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust||29|
|University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust||1|
|Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Stamford & Rutland Hospital and retained estates||6|
|Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust||12|
|University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust||4|
|University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust||2|
|Croydon Health Services NHS Trust||45|
|Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust||8|
|County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust||3|
|East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust||41|
|Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||7|
|Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust||2|
|Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust||3|
|South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust||2|
|Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust||6|
|University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||13|
|Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||11|
|Whittington Health NHS Trust||2|
|Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust||1|
|Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust||2|
|Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust||2|
|North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||80|
|The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust||40|