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Patient safety at risk in crumbling hospital Boris Johnson promised to replace

Patients, doctors and nurses are enduring constant ward closures and flooding in “dilapidated and unpleasant” buildings because a new hospital promised by the government has still not been delivered, one of its most senior medics has warned.

Patient safety could soon be at risk unless the replacement for St Helier Hospital, in south London, is finally confirmed by ministers, according to the outgoing chief medical officer of its NHS trust. Some of the buildings pre-date the NHS, while wards have been shut due to sinking foundations.

Writing in the Observer, Dr Ruth Charlton, the chief medical officer of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, warns:

“Right now, we are delivering safe care – but it’s not easy in such a dilapidated and unpleasant environment, and I fear we won’t be able to provide the level of care we’d like to – or should be – for much longer,” she writes. “Our patients and our staff deserve so much better than this current state – where wards are being shut down because the foundations are sinking, and floods and leaks are a certainty every winter.

“Every day we wait costs money, and each year we have to spend more and more on updating our old, rundown buildings – diverting scarce resources from the front line … there’s no other option. We must progress our plans to build our new hospital and make improvements to our existing sites.”

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Source: The Guardian, 13 May 2023


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