PATIENTS were forced to evacuate a hospital after a suspected gas leak.

The incident emerged shortly before 10am on Thursday at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

The hospital was made safe and reopened fully two and a half hours later.

A spokesman for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said:  “Earlier this morning a gas leak was identified in a localised area of the hospital which was evacuated as a precaution; this did not affect any ward area. 

"The fire brigade and onsite estates team were in attendance and the area was made safe and reopened fully at 12.30pm.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

It is believed the gas leak was coming from a refrigeration unit.

A spokesman for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "At 9:08am on October 4, we received a report of an incident at Royal Berkshire Hospital on London Road, Reading.

"Crews from Caversham Road, Wokingham Road and Whitley Wood have been sent to the scene.

"Upon arrival, crews used gas monitors to identify the area affected. Then, four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus isolated the leak.

"They then used fans to ventilate the area. Once the building was made safe it was handed back to RBH staff.

"The crews were on the scene for around two hours."