Hospi­tal leak fear

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Scott Morgan

A LEAKY roof at Auck­land Hospi­tal has put mil­lions of dol­lars worth of equip­ment at risk.

Wa­ter soaked the car­pet of an on­col­ogy de­part­ment room dur­ing a heavy storm late last week.

The room houses one of the hospi­tal’s lin­ear ac­cel­er­a­tors, a ra­di­a­tion ther­apy ma­chine.

The Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board paid $3.255 mil­lion for its new­est ma­chine, pur­chased in March.

Con­trac­tors had been as­sess­ing a mi­nor leak in the roof be­fore the in­ci­dent.

Prin­ci­pal physi­cist Isla Nixon, who is in charge of the ma­chine’s main­te­nance as well as health and safety, says the sit­u­a­tion was un­ac­cept­able.

“I think the rain and the work on the roof all com­bined in the wrong way. Ob­vi­ously I’m re­ally un- happy with it be­cause of the dis­rup­tion.

“It didn’t seem right to me, but I’m not in main­te­nance.”

Three pa­tient ap­point­ments were post­poned,while an­other lin­ear ac­cel­er­a­tor sched­uled for main­te­nance that day was used to clear the back­log.

Ms Nixon says the pa­tients who missed out on treat­ment won’t be se­ri­ously af­fected, be­cause the ra­di­a­tion ther­apy in­volves a se­ries of ses­sions.

While the clean-up took all day, Ms Nixon says no out­side help was needed to dry out the car­pet, with hospi­tal staff fix­ing up the mess.

She says the roof has been leak­ing for some time, but this was the first ma­jor in­ci­dent.

“Over time it has de­vel­oped cracks and there was a leak prob­lem and they were test­ing to see where the leaks were.”

The wa­ter threat­ened the con­trol booth where the lin­ear ac­cel­er­a­tor is op­er­ated from, rather than the ma­chine it­self, and no equip­ment was dam­aged.

Health board chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Roger Jar­rold says the roof will be re­paired as soon as weather per­mits.

A wa­ter-proof can­vas is be­ing used to keep fur­ther wa­ter from the room.

Mr Jar­rold says they are re­view­ing the in­ci­dent and will speak to the con­trac­tors about why the flood­ing oc­curred.

He ac­knowl­edges other mi­nor leaks have been de­tected in the hospi­tal be­cause of re­cent storms and an age­ing wa­ter­proof coat­ing on the build­ing’s flat roof.

The coat­ing is be­ing re­placed where nec­es­sary.

Mr Jar­rold could not say how much re­pairs to the on­col­ogy de­part­ment roof would cost.

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