The chemotherapy ward at Royal Berkshire Hospital is ‘not fit for purpose’, while intensive care unit staff had to place buckets between beds because of a leaky roof, a governor has said.

Clive Jones, an elected hospital governor, said the ward left patients no space for privacy, while other parts of the hospital building were cold, leaky and boarded up, in a letter to the government.

Mr Jones said he was shown the problems on a recent tour of the hospital’s north block. He said: “The staff here were doing a great job looking after very sick patients. However, I was appalled to see this ward is not fit for purpose.

“There is no air conditioning, apparently not allowed because of the grade 2 listing status of the building. This is not satisfactory for a chemotherapy ward as it increases the possibility of infection.

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“There is also little space for staff to have confidential conversations with very sick patients and their loved ones, also completely unacceptable.”

Mr Jones added that ‘constant issues’ with the hospital’s heating meant staff are left working in their coats during cold weather.

He added: “A few weeks ago, staff working in ICU were having to dodge buckets between the beds because of a leaking roof. There are also often issues with IT systems.”

Mr Jones, who is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate in Wokingham at the next general election, asked the government’s health secretary Victoria Atkins to visit the hospital.

Royal Berkshire was promised a ‘new hospital’ by the government in 2020. But the Trust and the government have not agreed on where this should be, and how much funding it needs.

A spokesperson from the government’s Department for Health and Social Care did not confirm if Victoria Atkins would visit the hospital, but said it was ‘committed’ to rebuilding it.

They said: “We have also invested significant sums to upgrade and modernise NHS buildings – including £4.2 billion this financial year – so staff have the facilities needed to provide world-class care for patients.

“Trusts are responsible for prioritising this funding to maintain and refurbish their premises, including the renewal and replacement of equipment.”

READ MORE: Urgent repairs to go ahead at Royal Berkshire Hospital

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said the hospital met ‘rigid health and safety requirements.’

A statement said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff and patients, along with the delivery of safe and high quality care, are our absolute priorities.

“Whilst some of our teams are based in very old buildings showing signs of wear and tear, these areas adhere to rigid health and safety requirements and are subjected to rigorous risk assessments.”

It added: “It's a credit to our staff that, despite some less than ideal working conditions, in the recent national NHS staff survey they said the Trust was one of the best acute Trusts to work for in the South East.”