Suffolk

Ipswich Hospital blackout: Probe into why power failed

Nick Hulme
Image caption Nick Hulme said there was "no risk" to patients during the power cut at part of Ipswich Hospital on Friday

Ipswich Hospital bosses have said they have been investigating why a back-up generator failed to kick in during a power cut.

Patients were affected and sirens went off as the hospital was hit during a 15-minute UK-wide power outage.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust, said it affected outpatients, X-rays, scans and pathology on Friday evening.

In its latest statement, the trust said the unit's circuit breaker had failed.

Trust managing director Neill Moloney said: "The emergency generators at the hospital all worked, but a circuit breaker in our outpatients department did not.

"This briefly cut the electrical supply to our outpatients and X-ray department."

Mr Hulme said no patients were put at risk during the outage and an urgent report was expected.

Image caption Ipswich Hospital was hit by a power cut that affected part of the site

On Friday night, the hospital said power was out across the whole site, but Mr Hulme has since confirmed the power cut affected about a third of the building.

Eyewitnesses at the hospital described how sirens went off as electricity was lost at about 17:00 BST.

"It was a worry but ITU, the wards, A&E, none of that was affected at all," said Mr Hulme.

"Outpatients had finished, so it didn't have any significant impact."

Power failures were reported across large areas of the UK on Friday, affecting homes and transport networks.

Mr Hulme said he had been at the hospital during the blackout.

"Luckily, very quickly we were able to get the power back on," he said.

"Unfortunately, the back-up generators didn't work, but there was no risk to patients at any time as all our emergency equipment is always covered by battery back-up.

"Staff reacted incredibly well. We have contingency plans, we were able to enact those and were back to normal within about 15 minutes."

Image caption The power cut affected the outpatients department

BBC journalist Vikki Irwin told how her mother was on a scanner's hydraulic lift at the time.

She said: "They said the power had gone out across the site. Lots of parts of the hospital were completely dark. We had to get my mum down manually."

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