Anger at state of hospital's toilets

By James MortlockAN ANGRY father took these photographs of "filthy" toilets at one of the county's hospital in an effort to highlight ongoing concerns about standards of hygiene in the NHS.

By James Mortlock

AN angry father has criticised the conditions he faced in toilets at one of the county's hospital in an effort to highlight ongoing concerns about standards of hygiene in the NHS.

Roger Rothery said he was disgusted to find dried and wet urine in most of the cubicles at the toilet block close to the main reception at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Rothery also criticised the general dilapidated state of the hospital's toilet, which he pictured on a visit earlier this month.

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Hospital bosses admitted the toilets were in need of replacing, but insisted they were cleaned every few hours and defended current hygiene practices.

They added that since Mr Rothery, from Stowupland, took his photographs the rusting pipes pictured had been cleaned and repainted and flaking walls stripped and fresh paint applied.

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The hospital bosses added they hoped the block would be refurbished later this year, but said the number of people using the toilets made it almost impossible to keep them spotless at all times.

Mr Rothery said he had generally found hospital hygiene to be reasonable, but on this occasion felt he had to act because the situation was "exceptional".

He added: "It's the sort of conditions you would expect to find in a toilet in the corner of a park or in a high street - not in an NHS hospital."

The father-of-three, whose 14-year-old Ryan son needs regular dialysis treatment after a failed kidney transplant and has just become a patient at West Suffolk Hospital, said heads should roll.

"Cleaning this up needs to be a top priority given the current concern over MRSA. Those toilets should be refurbished as soon as possible," he added.

Mr Rothery said that in the light of the MRSA death of baby Luke Day at Ipswich Hospital, he was especially shocked by the state of the toilets when he visited the Bury St Edmunds hospital with his other son Niall for a back scan on April 5.

"The toilet is located in the main hospital reception area adjacent to shops, a cafe and unbelievably within a few feet of the customer service department. There was dried and wet urine all over the floor in most of the cubicles," he claimed.

"You can see from the photographs that the adjacent wall and splash back area is covered in what appears to be dried urine and has obviously been there for a considerable period. The toilet photographed was not flushed and the whole experience was appalling.

"To make matters worse there was a sign saying these toilets were inspected on a regular basis, but the normal signed inspection form was missing."

Mr Rothery added: "It's clear from my photographs that these toilet facilities do not meet an acceptable standard.

"This is not good enough and with the struggle to control MRSA does not give a very good impression of the hospital or the NHS.

"I wouldn't want a child to use these facilities or to actually flush the toilet and wash my hands because it would risk infection."

Steve Moore, facilities director at West Suffolk Hospital, said cleaning products had caused some of the staining photographed by Mr Rothery and deep cleaning techniques had since been used to solve the problem.

He added: "The toilets are tired and need replacing. We went out to tender last August to have the toilets refurbished and we're hoping it will be done this year, funds permitting.

"The toilets are cleaned roughly every three-and-a-half hours and spot checked in the evenings. They have very high use so it is an ongoing problem and realistically it's difficult to have a cleaner there all the time."

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