Visitor claims sewage leaking in hospital
Wellington Hospital is rejecting claims that toilet waste is leaking from pipes in the ceilings of its whanau centre, where relatives and friends of patients can stay.
Walter Joe, 52, of Hastings, moved into the hospital's Mein St whanau centre on Wednesday as a support person for an 80-year-old friend who is scheduled to have heart surgery today.
Mr Joe said ceiling tiles in the $30-a-night accommodation were stained from moisture leaking down from pipes in the ceiling.
"That's sewage dripping down on people in the whanau centre below.
"We hear the flush [of the toilet] and then it is drip, drip, drip . . . spots appear on the ceiling tiles. It's a health hazard. It's making people sick."
Mr Joe, who works as a volunteer prison chaplain in Hawke's Bay, mentioned the plumbing problem to whanau centre workers and was told the leaks had been occurring for some time.
He had met people staying in the whanau centre who had become sick since they had moved in, Mr Joe said.
"We're here to support [friends and family] who are sick and who are having operations.
"We're no good to them if we become sick ourselves because of faulty plumbing in the whanau centre."
Capital and Coast District Health Board chief operating officer Chris Lowry said hospital management had been unaware of the plumbing problem at the accommodation. She apologised for any distress experienced by guests and said the dripping liquid was not toilet waste.
"When the issue was brought to our notice . . . we immediately sent a plumber to investigate the cause.
"The initial conclusion is that there is a leak from the bath or shower in the [hospital ward] room above and it is not related to a broken pipe or toilet."
Ms Lowry said one room in the whanau centre had to be closed because of the problem.
"Ongoing work will be undertaken this week to ensure the leak is fixed and any damage done to the rooms is repaired.
"We take the health and wellbeing of our patients and family members staying on-site very seriously.
"We will be working with all groups involved to ensure our reporting processes around incidents like this are robust," she said.
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