AGEING chillers in the Royal Berkshire Hospital are not designed to cope with increasingly hot summers, a top engineer has said. 

Hospitals use chillers to cool high-heat specialist tools like MRI machines, lasers and X-rays. 

But several chillers failed this summer at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, due to the extreme heat. 

Guy Kieser, an account director at CBRE, who is in charge of engineers at the hospital, said: “The exceptional summer brought our chillers to their knees. Three megawatts of cooling was lost.

“They’re not designed to cope with the 38 degrees that we had in July.” 

He made the comments to the board of directors at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust at a meeting on September 25. 

Mr Kieser reminded the board that global temperatures are rising and this July was the hottest ever recorded worldwide. 

He said: “Our chillers are some 30 years old. While they’re well maintained, the life expectancy is 15 to 20 years.”

There were four chiller failures: in the central block, south block, Battle ward and maternity ward. 

Four specialist engineering teams responded and hired chillers were installed. 

Mr Kieser said: “Large chillers are hard to source. But specialist providers have us on their list.” 

He told the board that the lesson to be learned from the failures was that ‘we need to design them to southern hemisphere spec’.

Because of the climate crisis, extreme heatwaves will be much more likely in the coming years, according to scientists.

The climate crisis is causing global temperatues to rise, because of the increasing greenhouse gases emitted from burning coal, oil and gas.