Hospital A&E ward closed after fire

13 Dec 2011

An emergency ward at a Winchester hospital has been closed after a fire.

Around 50 people were evacuated from the A&E department at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital after the fire broke out.

It took 100 firefighters to tackle the blaze, which originated in a building housing a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has now launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.

Staff were forced to close the department for 24 hours after the incident.

Patients with head injuries were treated at Southampton or Basingstoke, while new replacement mobile MRI and CT (computerised tomography) units have been brought in.

The hospital's chief operating officer Alex Whitfield said introducing the new equipment had caused some disruption.

She said: "We need to fully test the scanners and make sure staff are familiar with them as they are new units.

"That will be done in a staff briefing so we we hope to be fully operational by late this evening. We have not had to cancel any surgery."

Copyright Press Association 2011

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