Basildon Hospital patients to bring own fans in heat
A hospital in Essex without enough fans has told visitors they can buy them or bring them in for patients.
The only ward at Basildon Hospital which is air conditioned is accident and emergency.
But as temperatures reached 24C (75F) in the town on Monday, the hospital said it was letting people bring in their own fans because there were not enough for each patient.
The Patients Association said hospitals should give fans to patients as needed.
One recent visitor to the hospital, who asked not to be named, told how her elderly mother's ward was "stiflingly hot" with bays of four beds having to share just one fan.
She said staff had told her she could either buy a fan for her mother or bring in one from home.
End Quote Katherine Murphy Patients Association
Many patients may not have family able to visit or who are in a position to buy a fan”
A spokeswoman for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said there had been no "call out" for people to bring in their own fans.
However, she said, those concerned about the heat were welcome to bring in fans and arrangements would be made for them to be safety tested by hospital staff.
The spokeswoman said stockpiling enough fans to meet the needs of all patients "would not be an effective use of NHS resources to have a fan for every patient".
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: "Our helpline is inundated with calls from patients, carers and the public about poor experiences in hospitals - all of which often highlight broader challenges for the NHS and patient care.
"A patient's safety, comfort and outcomes could clearly be negatively affected by the temperature of a ward being too hot or too cold - in particular elderly and vulnerable individuals - and this is an issue that trusts do need to consider, especially during extreme weather conditions.
"Trusts should provide items like fans when they are needed, otherwise this responsibility falls on relatives.
"However many patients may not have family able to visit or who are in a position to buy a fan or meet other needs like this."