A NEW hospital unit which was hit by flooding during the big thaw is still to be opened on schedule.
Wigan Infirmary’s new Coronary Care Unit (CCU) is not even open to patients yet but has already faced its fair share of drama after water started pouring in through the ceiling into one of the units in the early hours of Saturday, December 27.
Fire crews were called to the unit to find hot water coming through the ceiling into an area with four beds in it.
Although they managed to stop the leak the hospitals contractors are still working to find out what caused it.
Initially there was some suggestion that it might have been caused by a broken pipe or a fault with an air conditioning unit, but neither of these suggestions have been confirmed.
Carolyn Dereszkiewicz, Matron of Cardiology, said: “We are obviously extremely disappointed by what’s happened but luckily it is nothing that can’t be fixed and we’d rather it have happened now than when there were patients in the beds.
“I first heard about the flood when I got a call at 3am in the morning to tell me what was going on and to see if I had a key so the fire crews could get into the area where the water was coming from and make it safe.
“When I got in that morning at about 7am all the domestic staff were working hard to dry the area out and suck up the excess water, but because of the Christmas break work on the repairs has not yet started.
“The contractors are working to assess what happened this week so we hope that by next week repairs will be under way.”
The new unit will have the capacity to house 11 beds, plus an array of new state-of-the-art equipment, including a telemetry system and monitors that will allow patients heartbeats to be viewed from anywhere in the hospital.
It is hoped that the new equipment will lead to quicker diagnosis and treatment - and potentially save more lives.
Previously the CCU was located in a different part of the hospital and the project to transform the department has seen it relocated into the Cardiology Department. It means that all heart-related services will be under one roof.
The CCU was scheduled to be handed over from contractors Naylor and Walkden to the NHS Trust in December but some final work had not been finished, which delayed it during the Christmas holiday, so the responsibility for the damage caused is that of the contractor.
Ms Dereszkiewicz said: “Luckily the flood was contained to one room so we are able to continue making the finishing touches, which we hope will be ready for patients’ use by the end of the month as planned.
“From a negative situation have come some positives too as a number of people read about the flood in the paper and have been ringing up since to make donations to the Heart Beat Appeal, which is the fund-raising appeal that has helped make the unit possible.”
The appeal is backed by our sister paper, The Wigan Observer.