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Gloucestershire Business News

A&E department flooded as storm hits Gloucester

Part of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital's A&E department had to be evacuated as heavy rain and lightning disrupted services last night.

Rain also caused damage to a ceiling at the hospital with part of the grounds cordoned off following a lightning strike.

The heavy rain which caused localised flooding throughout parts of Gloucestershire around 6.30pm saw water enter A&E.

The waiting area was emptied while firefighters pumped the water out.

The drainage system at the Tower Block was overwhelmed by the deluge, causing damage to a ceiling on the ninth floor.

And an area near an administrative building off Great Western Road was cordoned off as a tree surgeon made two trees safe after they were struck by lightning.

Associate chief nurse Craig Bradley said: "Storms had been forecast but the intensity of the rainfall, over such a short period of time, led to rainwater overwhelming areas of the hospital.

"We also had reports of damage to two trees. The two trees looked like they had exploded and had signs of heat damage. We were very lucky that nobody was harmed as a result."

He continued: "The overall response of the team here at GRH, which included our partners Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service, was phenomenal.

"Everyone including doctors, nurses, estates staff, porters and domestics worked together to restore calm. It is credit to them all that within three hours of the incident the hospital was clean, tidy and operational again.

"While there was unavoidable disruption for a short period, thankfully no staff or patients came to any harm."

The storm followed Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust declaring a critical incident earlier in the day with waits of up to four hours in A&E.

Chief operating officer Dr Rachael De Caux said: "Higher levels of demand than we had predicted, combined with new ways of working in response to COVID-19, have put considerable pressure on the urgent and emergency care system in Gloucestershire in recent days.

"We are confident that the temporary changes we have made are making our services safer.

"We intend to review the impact and ongoing necessity for the temporary changes at the end of this month, in line with our previous commitments and ahead of the county's health overview and scrutiny committee meeting in September.

"Our aim remains to ensure we are prepared for any possible surge in the pandemic and as a result do not have to pause the wide range of non-COVID services as we did during the initial phase."

The trust temporarily closed the A&E department at Cheltenham General Hospital as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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