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Digging deep to help children's hospice

Thursday 30th April 2020 11:00

Thames Water engineers standing outside the hospice

Caring staff from Thames Water went the extra mile to restore water to a children’s hospice after it lost pressure before the weekend.

Engineers worked into the night when Haven House Children’s Hospice in North East London, which cares for seriously ill children, reported low pressure and outages of hot water..

It meant staff at the hospice, which provides vital support and care to children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, were unable to bathe children. The water pressure was so low that all use had to be strictly limited to ensure that there was sufficient water for emergencies..

Investigations found a number of leaks along a private pipe owned by the hospice and Thames Water offered to fix the issue. Engineers dug in to woodland near the hospice to connect a new pipe, diverting the supply around the leaks, and were able to reconnect the supply. They also returned the following day to ensure there were no further problems..

Sean Walden, Thames Water’s head of water networks for North London, said: “Even though this was a problem with a private pipe, we were determined to fix it for the hospice, which provides a vital service for seriously ill children..

“A number of engineers stayed late into the evening to help find a solution, which included digging by hand in to the challenging terrain to lay a new pipe. This was a real team effort with everyone involved showing a huge amount of commitment to get the supply sorted for the children and staff.”.

Eileen White, director of care at the hospice, said: “A huge thanks to Ian, Michael, Sean and the amazing team at Thames Water, working all day at Haven House to keep our hospice open. Now more than ever our water supply is essential in maintaining high levels of infection control at the hospice and in keeping our children, families and staff safe.”.

Water engineers are classed by the government as key workers during the coronavirus outbreak. It means Thames Water staff and contractors, who cannot fulfil their roles from home, will be out working in roads and at water and sewage treatment sites maintaining essential services, and in the company’s control and customer centre offices, in line with official health advice..

Specialist engineers from the company have also been working behind the scenes to protect hospitals, care homes and the newly opened NHS Nightingale Hospital from supply interruptions during the coronavirus pandemic..

Working with facilities teams at 175 hospitals and care homes across London and the Thames Valley, the company has strengthened contingency plans to maintain essential water and wastewater services. This has involved checking the internal water storage capacity at hospital and care home buildings and establishing where tanker trucks can park to deliver clean water in the event of an interruption.