Milton Keynes Hospital wards are so hot it is 'putting patients' health at risk' say staff

The wards at Milton Keynes hospital are so stifling hot that patients’ health is at risk, whistleblowing staff have claimed.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 6:30 pm
MK Hospital

Last week temperatures inside the hospital soared to a sweltering 27 degrees, causing discomfort to patients and staff alike.

“It is like a furnace in here. It’s vastly too hot and a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and viruses,” said one member of the clinical team

The whistelblowers wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from hospital bosses. They say numerous complaints have been made from staff to management about the conditions.

The current heatwave is bad news for MK Hospital patients

“The managements seems to have a very lackadaisical approach to temperature control. Will it take a patient dying of heatstroke before anything is done?” said one.

She added: “The ideal temperature for a hospital environment is said to be 21.5 degrees. Hotter environments can lead to increased thermal stress which, if not treated, can lead to heatstroke.

“Heatstroke, if not treated can lead to death, particularly in the frail and elderly.”

The main part of MK Hospital was built 35 years ago and does not have air conditioning. Portable units are in most wards and these have tubes that need to go out of windows to pump fresh air inside.

“The biggest problem is that most of the windows on the wards are screwed down so they can only be opened a couple of inches,” said another whistleblower.

“The tube on the air conditioning units need a wider gap so they get compressed - meaning the unit does not work.

“Portable fans are also used but all these do is pump the overheated air around.

“It is like a jungle- not a healthy environment at all. something needs to be done.”

A hospital spokesman said: "We always try to keep hospital areas and working environments as comfortable as possible for patients and staff.

"We continue to invest in cooling methods across the hospital site, including installing air conditioning units in several areas. Fans and cooling equipment are available to all staff, and we have 80 portable air conditioning units across the site which can be used in patient areas.

"As a hospital, we are legally required to ensure the safety of our patients and, where windows are kept locked, this is to ensure we do not breach our duty of care to our patients. We regularly remind staff that, if they do have any concerns about the temperature of their ward or department, they can speak to their manager who can then co-ordinate any requests for additional fans or air cooling as required.

"We also ask staff to ensure they remain hydrated at all times and to take their breaks, which is all part of our commitment to prioritise their health, safety and wellbeing at the same time as that of patients at the hospital."