Mental health hospital plagued by unsafe drinking water

Langdon Hospital, Dawlish. Photo: Steve Pope HE030307_SP03_03 -Credit:Steve Pope
Langdon Hospital, Dawlish. Photo: Steve Pope HE030307_SP03_03 -Credit:Steve Pope

Water safety concerns at a mental health hospital in Devon have resulted in patients and staff needing to rely on supplies of bottled water since March. Issues with the water supply at secure physiatric facility Langdon Hospital in Dawlish are still yet to be resolved.

The hospital in Exeter Road, which is run by adult mental health services provider Devon Partnership Trust (DPT), usually relies on a borehole to provide water for the site. However, routine tests indicated 'adverse results' which could have been a risk to people's health.

It is hoped that it will be safe to drink again within the next few works after the necessary works are carried out.

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A spokesman for DPT said: "Water for the whole of the Langdon Hospital site is provided by a borehole. As part of our routine water testing programme, we picked up some adverse results which may potentially have caused tummy problems for staff and patients drinking the water.

"To ensure the safety of everyone at Langdon, we have taken the precaution of providing bottled water for drinking and cooking and this will continue until we are assured that the water from the borehole meets all relevant standards. The boiled water from Zip boilers in the kitchens and the Hydrotaps on the wards is also fit to drink.

"It has taken a few weeks to identify specialist contractors to undertake the necessary remedial work but we are hopeful that things will be back to normal at the site in a few weeks' time."

Langdon Hospital supports men from the south west who, as a consequence of their mental health needs, have had contact with the legal system and require a safe and secure environment that enables them to receive a wide range of treatments, therapies and care to assist in their recovery.

Some patients can be kept in medium or low-secure accommodation. Planning permission was approved in November 2023 to build a new 10-bed mental healthcare inpatient facility, associated access road, servicing facilities and landscaping.

Langdon Hospital is one of two south west centres to receive a share of more than £40m NHS funding to improve mental health care for individuals with a learning disability and autistic people. It is hoped it will reduce long-distance placements.

The unit, and another in Bristol, will be designed specifically to care for individuals with a learning disability or autistic people who would benefit from treatment in a hospital and whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream mental health hospital, even with reasonable adjustments.