The A&E department at Watford General Hospital was forced to stop accepting some new patients overnight after a pipe burst.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has confirmed to the Observer that a leaking pipe caused damage to the ceiling of the A&E department on Wednesday night.

It's believed the incident unfolded at around 1.30am.

Due to the damage, the trust decided to divert any ambulances arriving into Watford to another Hertfordshire hospital.

The trust says two patients were diverted away.

The A&E department remained open to existing patients, the trust added.

The trust said in a statement: "The Lister Hospital in Stevenage was on hand overnight to support Watford General Hospital, following damage to the emergency department (ED) ceiling from a leaking pipe.

"Ambulances that would normally have brought patients to Watford General Hospital were temporarily diverted to the Lister in Stevenage whilst a clear-up operation took place.

"The ED at Watford remained open and the divert to Lister ceased at 6am. A full repair is in progress and the ED is open for business."

Watford Observer:

Chief Operating Officer Sally Tucker added: "We are grateful to the Lister and to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service for their support.

"Thanks also to our site and on call teams and estates and Mitie staff for responding so quickly to the leak and for getting back to business as usual in just a few hours."

It has been suggested the burst pipe was an example of the hospital's 'ageing estate'.

Promisingly, the trust has been successful in receiving £400 million investment from the government, which is likely to see a major refurbishment of Watford General Hospital.

Watford Observer:

The overnight incident was the second known time in just a couple of months that Watford General has had to temporarily close its A&E department.

The trust declared a critical incident on the morning of Saturday April 4 following a technical issue with its oxygen equipment.

The trust was treating dozens of coronavirus patients at the time and the oxygen system was close to reaching maximum capacity, the trust said.

A decision was made to temporarily stop accepting new patients to ease the pressure on the hospital's facilities and systems.

The Guardian reported West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust had "pleaded" with the government and NHS to "urgently approve" work to the hospital's oxygen system.