Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Gas leak closes part of Royal Hampshire County Hospital

Kerri-Ann Robinson
Image caption Kerri-Ann Robinson said she thought she would give birth in the hospital car park

Operations have been cancelled after a gas leak at a Hampshire hospital led to some wards being evacuated.

The maternity unit and treatment centre were affected by the leak at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester.

One mother was giving birth during the leak but her baby was born successfully after she was moved to safety.

Ambulances and women in labour were redirected to other hospitals. The trust said it had declared a "major incident" at the site.

Kerri-Ann Robinson, who gave birth to a baby boy, said: "I couldn't believe it - the midwife came in and said 'there's something we've got to tell you - it's not very good' and I thought 'what on earth...?'.

"It was like something out of Holby City - very hectic - but I did feel in safe hands.

"I nearly thought I was going to give birth in the lift and then the car park, but it was fine."

The rest of the hospital, including outpatient service, were not affected.

Image caption The hospital said the main building had been unaffected by the leak

Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust said Southern Gas Networks came to repair the leak, which occurred at about 12:00 BST.

By 16:00 BST, the source of the leak had been located and at 17:00 BST Southern Gas Networks said it had been repaired but its team would remain on site to monitor gas levels in the air.

Florence Portal House and the Burrell Wing were closed. The hospital said its contingency plans would remain in place overnight.

A spokesman said 12 new and expectant mothers and eight babies were moved to the hospital's main building.

No operations were interrupted by the incident, although eight patients were recovering from having surgery in the morning.

Chief executive Dr Chris Gordon said the leak was believed to have been caused by a pipe being broken during building work to refurbish the hospital's outpatient department.

He added: "It has been a very long time since we have had anything like this and I don't remember in the 15 years that I have have worked in this hospital having such a major internal incident."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites