On the morning of Tuesday 6th of April, the Royal Free Hospital suffered a power cut. Ambulances had to be diverted from A&E, elective surgery was cancelled and non-urgent outpatient appointments postponed. Staff also lost access to IT systems. Power was restored that afternoon and A&E was receiving ambulances again by 3.30.
Surprisingly, it is less than 4 months since the hospital suffered another serious power cut. Power failed on the evening of Monday 21st December 2009, once again causing disruption to A&E and other key services for 8 hours.
It is not clear if the causes of the two power losses are in any way related; so it is impossible to say if there is some underlying, systemic problem or if the hospital has just been extremely unlucky. These incidents are, however, a stark reminder of the limitations of backup power.
[See also previous news item about the power cut at Peterborough District Hospital.]