Hospital patients given baby wipes to clean themselves
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has apologised to patients and their families after water leaked through the ceilings of some of its wards.
The apology came as one staff member revealed that a patient was given baby wipes to clean themselves last week due to another problem with the water supply which meant some toilets could not be used.
The staff member, who did not want to be named, said a patient came from one section of the hospital to another and used the toilet there.
"The patient said the toilets were not working on their ward and headed straight for our bathroom," the staff member explained. "Afterwards, the patient told us that baby wipes were being handed out.
"We have signs everywhere in the hospital reminding us about the importance of hand hygiene and then there is no water. There can be C Diff and contagious diseases in any hospital including the Lourdes. This isn't good enough."
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) representative Tony Fitzpatrick confirmed water leaked through the ceiling of the third floor of the hospital this week.
It is believed there was also a leak on the first floor.
There are no reports of water having a direct effect on patients in beds; it appears to have leaked through a pipe running above a corridor running past the wards. Some floor tiles were also affected.
The two incidents come as the INMO attends a hearing at the Workplace Relations Commission today in regard to the dispute over inadequate staffing levels at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. There are more than 100 vacant posts at the hospital.
In a statement, the hospital apologised to patients and families affected by the leaks.
"Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda can confirm that there was an issue on Monday 23, May 2016 with a blocked pipe," it said.
"The blockage at the hospital is a result of a piece of metal becoming lodged in a pipe."
In relation to a patient being offered baby wipes to clean themselves, the hospital confirmed "there was an issue in relation to water services to the east and west wings of the hospital from midnight on Friday evening to Saturday morning.
"Water services were disconnected in order to facilitate the installation of isolation valves on the water system.
"The planned works were routine and were undertaken at a time of least disruption to patients. Water supply was fully restored to the hospital on Saturday morning."
It said this was not connected to the water leaks on Monday.
"The hospital anticipates full services will be restored by mid-afternoon on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda regrets any inconvenience caused to patients," the statement added.
Mr Fitzpatrick witnessed the leak while he was in the hospital to speak to INMO members about the union's work-to-rule action.