Hospital leak fear
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.