Dialysis patients say they are still being left in freezing conditions on a hospital ward – this time because of faulty air conditioning. Up to 40 patients suffering kidney failure have had to endure plunging temperatures at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
Initially hospital bosses sent a letter to patients blaming boiler failure. But former civil engineer Reg Hansell – himself a dialysis patient – says little has improved on Thomas Becket ward four weeks later. He said:
After two weeks an apology letter stated that boilers had failed and they were ordering spares. It is now obvious that it was the air conditioning that is malfunctioning.
When we told them this we were told someone would explain what action was to taken. Nobody has emerged yet. Patients are despairing how long these conditions will go on. It is very trying to receive four hours treatment in these conditions.
Last month the Kentish Gazette reported how patients were being subjected to “tortuous and freezing” conditions due to boiler failure. Claims by hospital bosses that extra heating maintained the temperature at 22 degrees were rubbished by patients, who were forced to bring in extra blankets and duvets.
With little change in the ward temperature since, patients are now demanding action from the hospital’s management. Mr Hansell, 70, from Shepherdswell – a former leader of Dover District Council – said:
Most treatments involve two rather large needles being inserted it to a vein, needing the patient to remain perfectly still throughout. Many patients should be moved elsewhere appropriate for dialysis patients until the air conditioning systems are working properly.
A request for comment has been put in to East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the hospital.