Ipswich Hospital systems back up and running after maternity block struck by lightning

A lightning bolt struck the hospital's maternity building

A lightning bolt struck the hospital's maternity building - Credit: Gregg Brown

Systems at Ipswich Hospital were back up and running this morning after a lightning bolt struck the maternity ward during a dramatic storm yesterday.

The lightning struck at around 4.30pm yesterday, and caused the hospital’s internal pager system used by medical staff to fail.

Localised flooding caused by heavy rainfall also caused damage to some computers which had to be replaced overnight.

Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme said at no point was there any risk to patients, with contingency communication systems put in place. All emergency doctors used a back up pager system, while other medical staff communicated via mobile phones and some via walkie talkies.

Speaking this morning, Mr Hulme said: “The maternity block is probably the highest point in Ipswich. We are nine floors up and on a hill, so we are always going to be vulnerable.

“The massive surge took out our bleep system. Every doctor will carry a bleep pager.

“If we get an emergency, the pager system runs off a back up. It switched to the back up system which wasn’t affected.

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“We got that system back up at about 2am.

“We had some localised flooding which got into some of our computers, which we replaced overnight.

“There was no risk to patients. Our well thought through business contingency plans all work.

“We have got contingency plans for just about every eventuality you can think of and it’s just a case of having the right people in the hospital to make the right decisions, use the right policies, to make sure they could get the systems back up and running as quickly as possible.

“I was kept informed throughout the night.

“When I came in at 5.30am this morning everything was back to normal.

“The deluge we had yesterday, I have never seen rain like that.”

Rushmere Golf Club was also struck by lightning at a similar time to the hospital.

The club suffered no structural damage, however the strike caused its phone lines to go down, and remain out of action this morning.

The storms came on the warmest day of the year, with temperatures reaching 18.1C (64.58F) in Writtle.

Did you see the storms? Send your pictures and videos to newsroom@archant.co.uk.