Hospital evacuated after 'major' gas leak
A MAJOR gas leak caused patients, staff and visitors to be evacuated from eight wards at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
The leak outside the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre on the hospital's Wonford site was reported shortly after 1pm on Tuesday.
As a safety measure patients on wards were evacuated to other ward areas within the main hospital building. Residential staff accommodation on the site and orthopaedic theatres were also evacuated and the area was cordoned off by the fire service.
Gas repair engineers came on site and a major incident was declared at 2.30pm because of the disruption to normal hospital services.
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Outpatient appointments were stood down as were all non-urgent operations and admissions for the Wonford site for the rest of the day. The hospital said this was a precautionary measure because of concerns that wider hospital evacuation may have been required.
The major incident status was called off at 4.30pm and staff began to repatriate patients to their wards.
But visitors were asked to stay away for the rest of the day to allow patients to settle back in.
Chief Executive Angela Pedder said: "Our staff responded in a professional and effective way to this incident, and evacuated patients were well cared for until they could be taken back to their own ward areas.
"Our emergency response plans were implemented in close partnership with the emergency services, and the wider NHS health community.
"We apologise for the disruption this may have caused for outpatients and visitors."