Southend Hospital patients sweat as windows are locked shut while hot water still not available

Patients have been left sweating after windows in two Southend Hospital wards have been locked shut because they are in a state of disrepair, it has emerged.

This week, it was reported patients on Benfleet and Paglesham wards, both specialist stroke wards, have had to go without hot water because of problems with a new system.

On Tuesday the hospital also confirmed some patients are having to be provided with fans because windows have been locked shut.

A patient, who asked not to be named, said; “The windows are taped up. It’s been stifling hot. I was waking up in the morning with a sore throat and my lips were dry. I tried to open a window and it was all taped up with a screw in it. They’re all like that.”

Healthwatch Southend called the issues “concerning”.

Owen Richards, chief officer, said: “Healthwatch Southend is concerned to hear that there appear to be a number of windows which cannot be opened to provide ventilation for patients and staff in Southend Hospital.

“ We know that the Care Quality Commission has previously raised concerns about repairs and backlog maintenance. We hope that although the trust is being required to make significant savings this will not affect basics such as repairs to broken windows.

Mr Richards added: “ The NHS Constitution sets out patients’ rights to “to be cared for in a clean, safe, secure and suitable environment”. Mid and South Essex Hospitals are required by law to take account of this constitution in their decisions and actions. We expect urgent action to be taken to resolve the issues patients and staff are reporting.”

A hospital spokesman said some windows were in need of replacement “when funding is available”.

The windows are said to be safe but some are “locked shut to minimise drafts”.

Meanwhile, patients are still without hot water.

Chris Howlett, senior states and facilities director, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are aware of the temporary problems with our new hot water system. All safety measures with our water supply are complied with. Business continuity plans are in place to ensure safe care and we apologise to patients for the inconvenience caused.

“As with any aging building, some windows are in need of replacement. There is a comprehensive log of the estates backlog and we are making improvements on a prioritisation basis.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter