The BBC has reported that the standby power failure at Ipswich hospital was caused by a battery. The battery, which was powering a switch that was supposed to turn on the hospitals backup power. The battery, tested according to the article just a few days previously, failed to turn on the generator when a black out hit the UK on the 9th August.
No patients were put at risk according to the hospital by the power failures, but x-rays, other scans and pathology were without power for nearly half an hour. The incident will no doubt raise questions in the hospital board on the power installation at the site and if it is fit for purpose.
Typically backup generators are switched on using a switch that closes to start the generator and the switch is held open by the mains supply. In this way when the power fails the generator start sequence is always initiated. power from the generator can then be used to switch other elements of the system if required.
Welland Power Managing Director Charlie Farrow commented “While the hospital board will no doubt be looking to see what they can do to prevent this in future, these things can happen, installing a fail-safe system is key in such an important application and no doubt after a complete review they will decide if the system is fit for purpose and may make some minor alterations to either the system itself or the monitoring regime to make sure the incident is no repeated in the future.”