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‘Major incident’ declared as hospital maternity ward closes after serious flooding
7 November 2023, 16:30
Blackpool Victoria Hospital has declared a 'major incident' after its building lost power.
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A flooded basement caused a power outage in four wards in the Women and Children’s Unit, which provides special care for babies.
Babies, expectant mothers and other affected patients have been moved to available beds in other areas of the hospital.
The hospital says all patients are "safe and well" and will continue to receive appropriate care.
It is believed that an overspill of sewage caused the power outage after a night of heavy rain.
The backup generator failed to start and medical machines were not able to switch on, according to reports.
Soon-to-be-father Damian Vanner called the incident "a major crisis."
He told the BBC his pregnant partner had her labour induced and shortly after "had to make a very uncomfortable evacuation from the maternity ward and move to an already overwhelmed day surgery ward."
The delivery suite and special care baby unit were among the parts of the hotel affected by the outage.
Some appointments, which include elective surgeries and scans, have been cancelled after the incident.
Other wards, like haematology and endocrinology, have also moved patients to other wards because of lost power.
Blackpool Victoria Hospital says it’s under significant pressure and is urging people to go to A&E only if absolutely necessary.
Chief executive Trish Armstrong-Child said: "Overnight, the basement of the Women’s and Children’s Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital experienced severe flooding.
"This has led to a loss of power and network access to the entire building.
"We have received support from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to reduce the localised flooding, but further work is required today to clear the area of standing water.
"Due to this incident, we have contacted patients to rearrange their elective surgery where necessary. If you haven’t been contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.
"Outpatient activity due to take place in the Women’s and Children’s Unit is being individually risk assessed and where appropriate diverted.
"We have contacted patients to cancel or rearrange their appointment as necessary. If you haven’t been contacted, please attend your appointment as normal.
"Please be assured that all patients within the hospital are safe and continue to receive appropriate care.
"The hospital’s urgent care pathway is also currently under a lot of pressure. We are appealing to our communities to think before attending our Emergency Department and to use NHS111 for advice and guidance.
"Colleagues from across the executive and senior leadership teams are working closely together and with our partners in the wider care community to ensure the Trust remains focused on this important work and I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing efforts."