WEATHER ALERT

Hospital has double trouble as water problems persist

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Problems with the hot water at Thompson General Hospital persist, despite Health Minister Audrey Gordon telling the Manitoba legislature April 25 long-awaited parts had arrived and repairs would be completed last week.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/05/2022 (274 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Problems with the hot water at Thompson General Hospital persist, despite Health Minister Audrey Gordon telling the Manitoba legislature April 25 long-awaited parts had arrived and repairs would be completed last week.

That’s because there are two separate problems involving different systems and parts of the hospital, a spokesman for Northern Health said Monday.

While parts needed to repair problems in the emergency department have arrived, the piece of plumbing needed to fix the problem in the hospital’s patient wards remains hung up somewhere in the supply chain, he said in an email.

On Monday, a patient at the hospital confirmed maintenance staff continue to haul five-gallon jugs of hot water to the wards.

“It’s a lot of work and you feel bad for the people who have to haul the hot water around,” said the patient, who asked not to be publicly identified.

The source, in their 50s, said the lack of hot running water has been an issue since being admitted Dec. 28. They have relied on sponge baths and used a dry “shower in a bag” before recently having a bath in a tub filled by maintenance workers.

“It’s cutting into their work. They have much better things to do than haul hot water,” the patient said. “That’s why we have pipes.”

The problem is in the pipes, the Northern Health spokesman said: a busted mixing valve within the boiler room which supplies the patient wards.

Hospital maintenance staff have had to haul hot water to the wards since the problem arose in January — not mid-March, as the health region first reported, he said. Once the mixing valve and its related parts arrive, the repair will require a short water shutdown for the areas supplied by the line.

The hospital plans to use a plumbing contractor with on-site support staff to do the work, the spokesman said. In the mean time, the hospital will continue with its contingency plans.

The health minister issued a statement Monday acknowledging a problem remains with the hot water at the hospital but it’s not hindering its operations.

“Our government has been assured by (Northern Health) that there are no operational concerns at Thompson General Hospital,” the statement from Gordon’s office said. “Supply chain issues continue (to) delay the final part required to resolve the issue.”

In the emergency department, meanwhile, the problem that had been a separate issue (hot water in cold water lines) has been fixed, the health region said.

The ER has small room-by-room mixing valves for hands-free sink faucets that were faulty and required replacement. The fourth and final valve was replaced Monday, and the required water temperatures were restored, he said.

An old pneumatic-controlled mixing valve in the hospital’s energy centre that supplies the ER is about to expire and plans to replace it with a new digital system have been escalated to an “emergent” request, he said.

 

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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