St Richard’s learns lessons from hospital power outage

ST RICHARD’S Hospital will benefit from steps being taken to prevent a power cut after Worthing Hospital was left without energy for 16 hours.

The shut-down on November 10 was the third in as many months, after power cuts on September 24 and 29 caused by a failure of the power supply serving the site. Ambulances were re-routed to other hospitals and operations cancelled during the power cut, while stand-by generators were set up to help the areas most in need keep running.

Now health bosses have pledged to upgrade their facilities to ensure it doesn’t happen again – and to learn lessons for the Chichester hospital too.

The Western Sussex Hospitals Trust has been working closely with UK Power to create a direct supply into the hospital to prevent any further shortages, and investing in stand-by generators.

It is considering whether to just replace its existing network or to spend £20,000 making three points for power to enter the site.

Spencer Prosser, director of finance for the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, said: “We are aware this is an opportunity to work with UK Power and do the work once and for all and to protect the site.”

He added that staff had also been busy working out the areas of the hospital which were of the greatest priority if a power cut happened again.

“All of those heavily-used areas are protected, and they are being prioritised: for example the Washington suite, which houses a lot of the admin staff, is at the end of the queue to get the power.

“The big issue was around the pathology block, with the loss of blood there.”

However he added that a similar event was unlikely at St Richard’s: “The St Richard’s Hospital is on a ring main, unlike the Worthing site, so it doesn’t mean there is only one access point. All the issues we have learned at Worthing, we are applying to St Richard’s as well.”

“We are thinking a generator will be mobile, so we should be able to move the generators around between the sites.”