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Retired NHS worker slates conditions at Belfast City Hospital

An unattended large container filled with dirty water in Belfast City hospital 
Seanín Graham

A RETIRED health service worker has spoken of her horror at the "third-world conditions" at a top Northern Ireland hospital where she worked for more than 20 years.

Geraldine McParland (61), a former clinical physiologist, was attending an emergency dental appointment at Belfast City hospital on Saturday when she noticed a hose pipe attached from the ceiling to a large container filled with filthy water.

The water was coming from a large exposed leak in the roof but was left unattended in the main outpatients department.

Ms McParland, who retired in 2008 from her diagnostics role but has almost 40 years' experience in the health sector, said she had "never seen anything like it".

"There was a second leak in another area with a makeshift cordon around patient chairs. There were around 30 people waiting for dental treatment as there were lengthy delays - but there was no-one on reception, you had to take a ticket from a machine and wait your turn. It was so unsafe and unsanitary for a major acute hospital and especially in the area of the main outpatients' unit,” she said.

"I was based in the City for 20 years and got such a shock to see these conditions. They might blame it on the weather but that's not good enough. A child could easily have been running round or an elderly person could have slipped…no other patients seemed that bothered, we are becoming accepting of this."

The City, which formerly housed an A&E department, runs an emergency clinic for dental patients suffering major trauma or bleeding out of hours.

A spokeswoman for the Belfast health trust, which is responsible for the City, said their engineers had been alerted to the problem and were making "necessary repairs".

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