New Somerset Hospital's Lifts Non-Functional due to Copper Theft
On 23 August 2012, copper piping was stolen from the water reservoir above the seventh floor of New Somerset Hospital in Green Point, which resulted in flooding of the hospital's four main lifts and basement. The main outlet pipe was removed, which led to large a volume of water flooding the hospital's lifts and basement with up to three metres of water.
The City of Cape Town's fire brigade was contacted and managed to pump the basement water to a level that no longer threatened the electrical supply of the hospital. Water was also pumped out of the lifts shafts but due to the amount of water that had entered the shafts, has now left patients using the stairs. Two service lifts are now being utilised, since the four main lifts accessing the West Block of the hospital are damaged.
New Somerset Hospital will not divert patients nor place additional pressure on neighbouring hospitals. The hospital has an emergency action plan to manage the patient load, which is currently being managed internally. Meetings have been held with relevant staff members to affect the plan.
Impact on patients:
- Wards will be opened in the North Block of the hospital for patients to be relocated to. Patients who can will be encouraged to walk (downstairs) to wards.
- Elective surgeries will be postponed.
The hospital's theatres, x-ray department and labour ward have not been affected by the water. The Western Cape Government Health requests that patients and their families be patient during this period. The incident has been reported to the South African Police Services, who are investigating the incidents surrounding the theft.